2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – Resolutions
I’ve always found it curious how fickle people can be around the New Year. People seem to assume that something cosmically magical is going to happen just because our man-made calendar flips from December 31st to January 1st. People work themselves into a frenzy believing that they will be a brand new person on the morning of January 1st despite a multitude of January 1st that are evidence to the contrary. People tend to imagine a clean slate, a fresh start, a second chance at being a better person than they had been in the past. This is especially interesting to me when Christians fall into the same pattern as the rest of Western culture. It only goes to prove how little we truly understand about our own natures and the nature of salvation and sanctification in our lives.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church we see a different kind of “newness” than we typically see around New Year’s Day in America. It is a newness not dependant upon man’s will or resolute desire to modify his behavior. It is a newness based on the work of the Creator of the world. It is a new creation birthed from the Spirit of God Himself. How many of us can say that we have ever had a hand in such a transformation?
I’ve seen people make resolutions to eat better, exercise, read more, study harder, be nicer to people, and so on and so forth. I’ve seen drastic transformations in people’s appearance and attitude, but I have never seen a person change their very nature. I’ve never witnessed someone will themselves to being in right standing with God. Scripture confirms this reminding us that it has never happened in the history of mankind. We are unable to change our natures no matter how many resolutions we write and keep. No matter how much we change our behavior, we are still the same old sinner we were in the past – we have simply learned to hide our sin in the shadows of our hearts.
I do not believe that it is a bad or unhealthy desire to want our lives to be different than they have been in the past. I look back into my own history and take note of the many times that I have failed. The cyclical pattern of my hubris and the wounds I have inflicted on those I love. It is natural to look to the future with hope that we may yet become free of our vices and leave behind the broken nature that we have allowed to live and thrive within our hearts. My intention in writing this is that we might begin to look to the true source of newness. That we might stop chasing our own abilities of training a rebellious and depraved nature and learn to abide in the New Life that Christ offers. Make no mistake, to receive the New Life that Christ brings is to invite war with the old nature. It is to choose to battle every moment the desires and selfish habits that our flesh have established within us. It is only through Christ that we can become new, and it is only through the filter of His Word and the intervention of His Holy Spirit that we can fully understand Him. May we strive to know Him more in this year. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,