Well here we are at the dawn of a new year. Technically speaking January 1st is no different than February 1st or September 1st. A new year has the same number of days in a week and hours in a day. Still, there is something intriguing about new beginnings. Little children on the playground call them do-overs. Athletes call them second chances. On January 1st many people call them resolutions meaning “I am resolved to do better this time.” God simply calls it Grace.
We do not have to read very far in Scripture to know God is very big on new beginnings. Genesis one verse one says, “In the beginning God . . .” and those words set into motion the theology of God for His creation. Not many years after God creates the human race the bible says, “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. . .” Then He seems to pause . . . but not until Noah finishes that ark. Another new beginning!Order now
Reading through the Old Testament we scratch our heads at why after turning their back on God over and over again He was always ready and willing to give them another chance. In the middle of the Prophet Jeremiah’s lamenting the condition of Israel and God’s judgment against them he writes, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (Lam. 3:22).”
We turn to the New Testament and find a litany of men and women who failed over and over again. Cheating tax collectors, adulterers, moral failures, and even a murderous Pharisee and to each of them the Lord responds offering them a chance to do better, to get it right, you guessed it a new beginning. Many of them became His disciples, some apostles, and that murderous Pharisee; well you would recognize him as the apostle Paul who wrote the majority of the New Testament.
The truth is whether we practice “new year’s resolutions” or not we all want a second chance in some area of our life. Because we are imperfect sometimes we make mistakes, sometimes we fail, and sometimes we are simply disobedient to what we know God expects of us. However, the beauty of God’s grace is that when we will humbly admit our need of it God is always ready and willing to offer it. John in his first epistle can be paraphrased this way, “God doesn’t want you to sin, but because he knows there will be occasions when you do He says if you admit to what you’ve done wrong, He will give you a new beginning.” God grant to us the will and ability to do better this time around, amen.