Reflections For A New Year

January 2, 2012 at 5:15 am 1 comment


As we begin a new year, it is useful to take a moment to reflect on our lives – where we are, where we have been, and where we are going.  Reflecting is important not only for the realms of finances, family, or fitness, but also for the realm of faith.  For above all, we must realize and recognize who we are in relationship to our Creator.  To this end, the British theologian N.T. Wright has written a set of five questions every Christian must answer – or, better yet, simply remember the answer already given – in order to appropriately and insightfully take stock of his or her life.  I relay these questions – and their answers – so that you may remember who you are in God’s sight.[1]

Who are we?

We must never forget that, as the apostle Paul writes, we are “in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:22).  This means our identity and purpose must always and only be founded and grounded not in the things, titles, or accolades of this world, but in the cross of our crucified Savior. This is certainly where the apostle’s identity is found: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14).   If we find our identities in anyone or anything else other than Christ and His cross, we are called to repent and turn back to Him.

Where are we?

N.T. Wright explains: We are “in the good creation of the good God.”  Sometimes we can forget, especially when life becomes dark and difficult, that when God created the world, He created it “good” (Genesis 1:25).  Yes, not all is right with creation.  Yes, there is pain, suffering, and tragedy – none of which were part of God’s dream and design.  But try as it might, evil cannot utterly destroy the goodness of God’s creation.   Indeed, God promises to restore the complete goodness of His creation on the Last Day: “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).  For all of its brokenness, we are still in a good place.  Thus, we ought to celebrate and appreciate the creation in which God has given us to live.

What’s wrong?

In a word, “sin.”  Indeed, this is why God’s good world appears so marred and messed up.  And sin is what is wrong not only with our world at large, but with each of us individually and personally.  Each of us is born into sin.  Because of Adam and Eve, the effects of sin plague us all.  This is called “original sin.”  Each of us also commit sin.  We transgress God’s laws and do not do what we are commanded to do.  This is called “actual sin.”  In a sense then, we are the problem.  We are the ones who make God’s good world a mess through our injustice and iniquity.

What’s the solution?

In a word, “Jesus.”  Jesus is God’s remedy to sin and redemption from sin.  The apostle Peter explains: “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).  It is important to note that not only is Jesus God’s solution to sin, Jesus is God’s only solution to sin: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  This means that all other attempts to deal with sin – be they moralistic or legalistic or liberalistic or relativistic – will ultimately fail.  If Christ is not your Forgiver and Redeemer, your sin has not been solved.  Period.

What time is it?

In the Scriptural view, time is not marked by the days on a calendar, but by the acts of our God.  In other words, what matters about the new year is not that we have transitioned from 2011 to 2012, but what God has done for us in the past and will continue to do for us into the future.  N.T. Wright explains cogently the time in which we live:  “We live between resurrection and resurrection, that of Jesus and that of ourselves; between the victory over death at Easter and the final victory when Jesus ‘appears’ again.”  This is finally what makes 2012 special.  For we are another year closer to the coming of Christ and the salvation of our souls.  And that sure and certain hope makes this year a year worth celebrating!


[1] The questions and quotes in this blog can be found in N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003) 275.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. 2015: It’s Going To Be A Great Year | Pastor Zach's Blog  |  December 29, 2014 at 5:16 am

    […] As we begin a new year, it is useful to take a moment to reflect on our lives – where we are, where we have been, and where we are going.  Reflecting is important not only for the realms of finances, family, or fitness, but also for the realm of faith.  For above all, we must realize and recognize who we are in relationship to our Creator.  The British theologian N.T. Wright has written a set of five questions every Christian must answer – or, perhaps more accurately, simply remember the answer already given – in order to appropriately and insightfully take stock of his or her life.  I relay these questions – and their answers – so that you may remember who you are in God’s sight.[1] […]

    Reply

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