Old and New
The ending of one year and the beginning of another provides us with a natural opportunity to reflect upon our lives. It is always good to take stock. We look back to the old and we look forward to the new. If our recent experience has been difficult then perhaps the months ahead will bring us greater happiness. But we do not know our future here.
There are some things however which are very clear. There is the rapid passage of time. We may say with Job that our days are “swifter than a weaver’s shuttle” (Job 7:6). There is the nearness of death and eternity. Soon we will leave this world and go to our “long home” (Eccl.12:5). What of us then? What will our destiny be in the life to come?
The Bible alone is able to give us answers to such questions. It is the Word of God to man. It too would have us consider the old and the new.
Let us first look back to the ‘old’. The Bible tells us that God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a paradise. They were pure and holy and loved the Lord. God set Adam a test: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen.2:16,17). Sadly Adam disobeyed, sinning against God. As the head of our race Adam represented us. When he sinned we sinned too: “by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom.5:19).
As sinners we are unrighteous in God’s sight. We are corrupt and guilty before Him. Having broken God’s law we are liable to its penalty. If it is a serious thing to break the law of the land it is a far more serious thing to disobey God’s law, contracting a debt we cannot pay and placing ourselves in danger of eternal punishment in hell!
Our sin leads to misery. However happy we may be with our lot the fact is that as sinners we are in a state of condemnation. “He that believeth not is condemned already...the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:18,36). By our sin we have lost our friendship with God. We are spiritually dead and heading rapidly to everlasting ruin.
Now let us look forward to the ‘new’. We cannot save ourselves from our plight but in love God sent His own eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem sinners. To redeem is to buy back what is captive. We are in slavery to sin and the devil and a holy and just God requires a ransom for our deliverance. So Christ became man in the womb of the virgin Mary.
Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross at Calvary, shedding His own precious blood. God punished His Son in the place of sinners. He was “once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb.9:28). His sacrifice was complete for “he rose again the third day” (1Cor.15:4). By His death Christ has satisfied God’s justice. He has removed the enmity between God and men and opened up the way for us to be restored to God.
How may we be saved? Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Salvation is all of God’s grace! Confess your sin to God and ask His forgiveness, praying “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Put your trust in Christ for righteousness. You will be “a new creature” and all things will “become new” in your life (2Cor.5:17). You will have a sure hope of dwelling eternally in the “new Jerusalem” in heaven (Rev.21:2).
May we all know a new beginning with the Lord this New Year.