Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Beginning

January 1st is traditionally a time for new beginnings, resolutions and hopes for improvement.  In fact, after leaving the gym the other day we remarked how crowded it will likely be in the coming weeks.  Then it will gradually slow down to those who have been working out most of the previous year.

In our Christian lives we may often find ourselves in a place where we appear to have less fervor, less zeal than we did before.  We may find that we have let sin easily beset us or that we have fallen far from "that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

This may lead us to feel as if we must somehow straighten ourselves up before we can re-establish our fellowship with God.  Indeed, we may feel that there is no hope, that we will always be this way, and we will be sorely tempted to just wallow in the mud of disappointment and despair.

There are two truths we must confess and affirm, even if we don't feel as if they are true, if we are to ever live a Christian life of victory.

First of all we must realize we can no more "clean ourselves up" to restore our fellowship with the Lord than we could to procure our salvation.  His is the work of transformation and His alone.  The work of our flesh in trying to make ourselves acceptable to the Lord is "as filthy rags" even when it is the Christian doing so.  The Lord has provided an advocate for us in the form of His Son, who is our perfect and better High Priest.

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous:" I John 2:1
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9

The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for our sins, was shed not just for the sins of our past, but for every sin of every person at any time.  

Secondly, we must realize when we fall it is our Father's desire that we avail ourselves of His forgiveness and return to a life of righteousness.  We so often can hear the shouting of our enemy telling us we should just lie there in our failure, that we do not hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit encouraging us to "Get Up!"  Every time we fall it is an opportunity for a new beginning, a chance to get up and press on.  The Lord doesn't want us to dwell in failure, but to dwell in His abundance grace and mercy, to know His love and the live in His peace.

So if you find yourself in the slough of despond, "Get up!"  If you find yourself en-robed in the guilt of sin, admit your sin to the Lord, cast off the paralyzing guilt and realize He has wrapped you in the glorious righteousness of Christ and know without a doubt that we have a God who delights in mercy.

"Who is a God like unto Thee, 
that pardoneth inquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  
He retaineth not His anger for ever, 
because He delighteth in mercy."  
Micah 7:18

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