Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
The world likes to start the new year out by making resolutions. Some resolve to get fit. Others resolve to get rich. Still others resolve to get better. The problem with making resolutions is located in the one making them. Think about the last time you made a resolution: how long did it take for your resolution to find its way into the proverbial “hope chest” of your life?
The Bible tells us there is a better way to start the new year and to keep it going all 365 days: that is to rest in the promises of God. The power in the promises of God is found in the One making them. God is absolutely faithful to His Word. Unlike us, when God says He is going to do something, He actually does it and He does it every time. Numbers 23:19 assures us, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
So now, with that truth firmly fixed in our understanding, we can embark on a new year with great hope and a growing hunger to live the life God has called us to live. Joshua knew this quite well: “Not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed” (Joshua 21:43-45). I think we would all agree that Joshua lived with great hope and a growing hunger to live the life God had called him to live. May this be the confession of all our lives after we have faithfully walked through the landscape of 2012.
The verse I have chosen to kick off this new year is as profound as it is promising. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we are a new creation. Grace does not reform us and it does not redirect us. Grace recreates us from the inside out. Notice that the verse does not say we need to make ourselves a new creation by working more and trying harder. It says we already are a new creation, simply because we are in Christ and only God can do the work of creating. What a pitiful promise this would be if Jesus said we needed to do this and not do that in order to receive its blessing. To be sure, our nature is too weak, our hearts are too divided, and our hands are too dirty to ever earn God’s favor.
Camp out for a moment on the word “behold” and marvel at its message! Jesus is telling us to fix our attention . . . consider it carefully . . . ponder it intently . . . the work that He has done for us through our union with him. We are to behold His work, His passion, His care, His forgiveness, and His love for us, so that we might profit from His promise. Those who are spiritually united to Christ by faith are new creations and participate in the “new creation” that Jesus purchased with His precious blood. This great transformation has taken place because we stand under the banner of the finished work of Jesus.
Now, we all know from unhappy experience that we are less than perfect—quite a bit less! We know we are still great sinners in need of an even Greater Savior. Yet, in the words of Charles Spurgeon, “The Great Sculptor has begun to chisel out the image of Himself in this rough block of human marble; you cannot see all the features, the lineaments divine are not yet apparent; still, because it is in His design, the Master seeth what we see not; He seeth in our unhewn nature His own perfect likeness as it is to be revealed in the day of the revealing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
As we stand before our Father in heaven, we are clothed in the perfect righteousness of the Son. Not only do we stand forgiven, but we stand as if we had never sinned. How much better are the promises of God than the resolutions of man! If you are in Christ, God is at work in you and that work will not stop until it has been completed. My prayer for you this year is that the promises of God will propel you further in and further up into the transforming truths of the Gospel.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!