By Robin Sam
I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who makes ‘all things new’.
Every New Year brings with it great expectations. 2011 is no exception. What do you look forward to in this New Year?
Perhaps you are wondering how this New Year will turn out to be. You don’t need to consult an almanac to find out what the year holds for you. Reflecting on the promise verse given to you alone will not make things happen for you. If you have already concluded 2011 will be no better than all the years gone by, listen to me. You can make the New Year a blessed year if you decide to make it a Christ-centered one. Let me tell you how.
For centuries, man has been obsessed with acquiring or embracing new things. Almost eight decades ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US, promised a ‘new deal’. He focused on three ‘R’s – relief, recovery and reform. Relief for the poor and the unemployed, recovery from an economic slump and reform of the financial order of the day to prevent America from spiraling down into another economic mess. That was in 1933. Seventy seven years later, the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, wonders what went wrong and is still thinking of the same things – relief, recovery and reform!
Adolf Hitler promised a ‘new race’ and wanted to establish a ‘new order’ where Nazis will be the superior group in the whole of Europe. He predicted that by 1941, Germans will rule over the entire Europe subjugating all the other races. He ordered the systematic killing of over 17 million people including an estimated six million Jews, whom he considered the greatest threat to the German nation and the Aryan race. Hitler’s dream remained just that – a dream. Sadly, history remembers Hitler as a tyrant and not as the establisher of a new world order.
Josef Stalin strived for ‘new equality’ through an indiscriminate industrialization policy in Soviet Union. The megalomaniac that he was, he called himself ‘life and sun’ and the ‘father and liberator of nations’. His brand of socialism was destined to fail from the beginning. He died an awful death lying in a puddle of stale urine unattended for close to 24 hours. Even to this day, he gets a fair credit for the degeneration and collapse of the erstwhile USSR and everything that is wrong with the Communist movement.
The Promise of ‘All Things New’
Unlike men, God is not in the business of making empty promises. In Revelation 21:5, He declared that He is making ‘all things new’. At the beginning of the chapter, God gave John a grand vision of a new heaven and a new earth. Yes, the former things have passed away. There shall be no more weeping, no more tears in the new regime. No pain, no death. Consider the best part of the New Order of things as planned by God – ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man’. Oh, what joy it will be to live with the Lord!
This New Year let that be the supreme desire in our lives – to be counted worthy to spend the eternity with the Lord.
If Apostle John had any reason to doubt the vision he saw, Jesus dispelled it. ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true,’ He said. My Jesus is not man that He should lie, or a son of man that He should change His mind (Numbers 23:19). The word that goes out from His mouth shall not return to Him empty, but it shall accomplish His purpose (Isaiah 55:11).
If you trust this God, it is your rightful privilege to look forward for the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). If Christ be our hope in this life, no power on earth can change our eternal vision. Yes, tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger or sword cannot separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35). Christ’s love for us is greater than any other love that we may have experienced or longed for. He has promised not to forget us even if a mother forgets her nursing child (Isaiah 49:15). When we raise our expectant eyes toward this love from our Creator, we will realize that our present troubles are light momentary affliction that prepare us for an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The condition of being a New Creation
However, we cannot fool ourselves into believing that this love can be taken for granted. The promise of new heavens and new earth is only for those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. Yes, the promise is to those who are in Christ and are acknowledged by God as ‘new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). To such as those, the old has passed away and the new has come.
The commitment to the New Commandment
The promise of new heavens and new earth is to those who follow the new commandment that Jesus gave us while on earth. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
The living of the New Person
The promise of eternity with God is to those who “get rid of the yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast” (I Corinthians 5:7) Find out the yeast within that corrupts you. Is it anger, malice, a lying tongue, a weakness for fleeting pleasures, an unforgiving spirit, or a lustful or a wicked eye? You know the yeast that is in you. Crucify your old self and let Jesus live within you. If you are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and put on the ‘new self’ (Colossians 3:10) today, the Lord will make a new beginning in your life this New Year. Amen!
Robin Sam is the founding editor of The Christian Messenger newspaper. A journalist with 16 years of experience, he has worked with The Indian Express, Sify.com and Yahoo! besides several other publications. He quit his job in 2008 to get into full-time media ministry. You can contact him at editor [at] christianmessenger [dot] in or christianmessenger [dot] in [at] gmail [dot] com