All Things New – A New Year’s Message For Unbelievers
Adapated from A New Year in Christ (published December 31, 2018)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
New Year, a wonder for many! Its arrival is often long awaited, as though it contains a health-giving quality that was non-existent in the year about to be cast into oblivion. As the past morphs into the future when the clock hands are at their most erect, New Year’s arrival is celebrated with enthusiasm by the masses of faithful festival zealots. What power does this festival possess that it is long awaited? Is it the hooliganism that it affords, or the indulgence that it allows to flow with liberal tolerance free from scorn and censure? This may present the lion’s share of the reason, but there sits in the back corner of the conscious mind something other, something more which is actually far greater – hope! It is a hope that the future will be better than the past; that the failures will be overcome by successes; that the fears and insecurities will be erased by peace and stability; that the heartaches and sorrows will be pacified by joy and gladness; that the burdens of the past will be slain by blessings; and that plans, longings and desires will be fulfilled. For many, it is the hope of being able to start anew. Old resolutions are erased from the slate without question as to how successfully they were fulfilled or how soon after they were made they were broken, and new resolutions are written. It is almost as though a feeling of freshness sets in, and a cleansing from the old sweaty self, as the grip of the Old weakens and quietly slips into history on the back of the setting sun, with the rising of the New dawn a seeming lifeline and so to say, “second chance”. In the reality of the secular world, however, this is a gross deception. Yet in Christ, there is a “second chance”. In Christ, there is new hope and a cleansing from the old.
But do we need Christ? To the one who thinks he is good, Jesus said, “No-one is good – except God alone” (Luke 18:19). To the one who thinks he is righteous, the prophet Isaiah said, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The apostle Paul confirms, “We have already made the charge that Jews and non-Jews alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no-one righteous, not even one; there is no-one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:9–12). To the one who trusts in his riches, Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The Psalmist replies, “the ransom for a life (soul) is costly, no payment is ever enough” (Psalm 49:8).
Yes, we need Christ! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Man can start anew, but the foundation rests upon Jesus alone, no other, for “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). In Christ lies true hope – true salvation; therein lies a new beginning for those who will believe and accept Him. Of sobering knowledge is the fact that in the life of a person without Christ, sin accumulates, no matter what that person does. Yet in Christ, there is an absolute erasing of sin from the slate (Isaiah 1:18; 1 John 1:9). For those who repent and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, God makes them alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:1–5; Romans 5:6–10), forgiving their sins and setting them free from sin (1 John 1:8,9; Romans 6:22). With Christ’s continuous cleansing, through our continuous repentance, we need not wait for the New Year, for He continually picks us up, enabling us to keep going. Each day that dawns is then a New Year for the believer in Christ. Temporal hope and New Year’s resolutions rest on man’s strength, but eternal hope and salvation rests on God’s supremacy (Isaiah 43:11).
Dear Reader, do you only know of the temporal, earthly offerings? Do you not know the cleansing power of eternal mercy? Have you not yet experienced the sweet celebration that comes from the hand of divine salvation? If not, what a glory you are then missing; what a hope you are forfeiting; and what a blessed assurance you are separated from! Allow Him, who rose from the dead, to raise you up into life and hope and purpose and meaning. Allow Him to breathe vitality into your nostrils and to get your spiritually deadened heart pumping with vigour. For Jesus Himself said, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again (born from above/born spiritually), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). God calls to each one of us, “Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22), and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” — “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified (made just as if you had never sinned), and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved (spared from eternal damnation/hell)” (Romans 10:9–10,13). Let not your heart be hardened, for Today is the day of God’s calling; Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:1–2); Today is the day for old things to pass away and all things to become new.