It’s 2014, as if you didn’t know. And that means a New Year!
Many people have updated their Facebook status – talking about having no regrets for 2013; commenting that we should forget the past and live 2014 as if it was a new beginning.
They are right, to some extent. We shouldn’t labor over what happened or what we did or didn’t do. Although we should repent of our past sins, I want to focus on the scriptural basis for new beginnings today.
When I think of new beginnings, I look at the life of Saul/Paul. His life was once marked by overwhelming sin: relentless persecution, constant destruction, and murder. Yet, God performed remarkable changes to, and through him. If God can do this for Paul, then what does the Bible say God can do for us?
Sometimes people see the stories in the Bible as just that: “stories.” However, the Bible has been given to us as a guide for life, sort of “instruction manual” (ok men, we do have to read this one!).
The Bible is not just stories. It has life application, and many times speaks directly to us. While much of the Bible is historical in nature, it contains more than just chronological elements. For example:
Poetry and Songs (Psalms, Songs of Solomon… )
Laws , Rules, and Wisdom (Exodus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Proverbs, James,…)
Hope/Good News (Gospels)
Letters (New Testament writings)
Paul wrote his letters to people with all types of issues in their lives. His letters spoke about the past, but more specifically what change was necessary to bring about new life.
Let’s look at several letters and an Old Testament writing about New Beginnings:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor 5-17-19 NKJV
18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing, – Isaiah 43:18-19a NKJV
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-23 NKJV
Each of these passages (and there are more in the Bible) remind us that the past should be done away with. We have the opportunity to start fresh in Christ.
Therefore, as we start 2014, I encourage each of us to put off the past and start new. Maybe you will want to do this as a family, in prayer, where you repent of your sins, and ask God to help you be renewed in your spiritual walk.