Christ, our sufficiency in the new year – Part 1
Many people face the New Year with an admixture of joy and foreboding. They are joyous because they have successfully made it into a new year despite the seemingly daunting challenges of the past year. But their joy is tempered by anxiety about what lies ahead in the New Year. Yet for children of God, this is altogether unwarranted. The reason is simple: Christ has fully taken care and provided for our hope, our expectation and our redemption. That provision lacks nothing because Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us” to make us a special and distinguished people. The realisation of the extent of this provision is what makes us zealous in doing good works.
And as we step into the New Year, we know that we are not barren, inoperative or incapacitated spiritually. Actually, Jesus Christ gave Himself for everyone in all generations. His sacrifice, substitution, atonement, suffering, propitiation, redemption is for each of us and for all. As the perfect, sinless, spotless, blameless One, He fully gave Himself so that no matter how deep a sinner had gone in sin, His purity, holiness and personality will atone for him or her. He gave Himself without any reservation for the vilest of sinners in every generation and bore the full wrath of heaven. He has taken away the suffering and penalty that we should have suffered. Therefore, full redemption, salvation and total freedom from sin and its consequences are available, including victory over trials, temptations and difficulties, many of which will arise in the course of the New Year.
Christ also solves the problem of the original sin; that is, the depravity and carnality we inherited from Adam, and He has redeemed us from all iniquity. The sin of Adam is not so terrible or great that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ cannot purge it.
When Christ purifies believers, who approach Him for sanctification, He restores the original purity God put in man at creation. He is the only One that can cleanse the heart and get it back to its original state. Christ purges and cleanses His followers, so they can be useful instruments in His hand. As products of divine grace and new covenant people, this New Year, we must replicate Christ and go about with burning zeal to do good works.
Christ gave Himself “for our sins” as “a ransom for all”. He bore our guilt and the punishment we should have suffered so that “He might deliver us from this present evil world”. Therefore, this New Year, believers should not put themselves under the pressure, problem and yoke of this present evil world or keep wandering from pillar to post because they think their problems are greater than Christ Who lives in them.
We must not accept the suggestion that God’s will is for us to experience the problems we may face in the New Year and beyond, because the deliverance Christ gives us is full and “according to the will of God and our Father”. When we get to the point where we are “crucified with Christ” and identify with Him, He transfers His power, divine energy and strength to us. Christ gave Himself to “sanctify and cleanse (us) with the washing of water by the word”. Every time we read the Word of God this New Year, it should make our hearts, minds, perspectives, understanding and relationship with the Lord glorious.
In the old days, the Jews made sacrifices every year in the Day of Atonement, yet they still felt the presence, pollution and power of sin in their lives. But when Christ died, He did so to “redeem us from all iniquity,” so that we “might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life”. He frees us from fear of the enemies that causes heart palpitation. He has also redeemed us “from the curse of the law”.
When Christ lives inside us and fulfils the purpose for which He called us, even though we live in a corrupt society, at a desperately despicable age, it remains incumbent on us to bear fruit “unto holiness” and become as a white lily in a muddy environment. God’s grace cleanses and sets us free “from the law of sin and death”. Thus, we are made to live above sin, sickness and all the activities of evil spirits. Because Christ gave Himself for us, we should also give ourselves back to Him. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God”. In all our conducts and characteristics this New Year, we must show that we belong to the Lord and should be fully given to Him.
Further Reading (King James Version): Titus 2:13,14; Titus 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:6; Galatians 1:4; 2:20; Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; Psalm 130:8; Luke 1:68-71,73-75; Galatians 3:13; Romans 6:22; 8:2; 1 John 3:5-9; 2 Corinthians 8:5.
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