A Message from Pastor Hale
The world worships time. A new year is assumed to provide for the possibility of new and improved outcomes. The optimist is to expect more and better things to come to him. But time is not God, and neither is chance or possibility. Just as more time (even billions of years) does not allow the promise of improvement, via evolution, so more time in the future for us does not mean better earthly things are coming. To depend on a new year to fix things in your life and heart is to worship time, a thing that was created by our Lord. Time is a creaturely, fading thing, doomed to pass away when Christ returns.
The problem is not time, but what we do with the time. Sinners are not neutral actors that just need the right circumstances to do good or better. It is said that “Given enough time, a hypothetical chimpanzee typing at random would, as part of its output, almost surely produce one of Shakespeare's plays (or any other text).” But time is limited and what is new is soon old. But sin remains, as does God’s Law. The problem is that future time does not make us new or improved. From the standpoint of our sinful flesh, the future only allows possibility for more sin, if we trust in our own power to effect good.
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:23-24).
Newness in Scripture is connected with the Holy Spirit, not simply wide open prairies of possibilities. So turn to something old, which is always new: The Word of God and His Spirit given you in Baptism. This singular act is always a new beginning in Christ, our risen Lord. Three days did not stop Him, and no amount of time – or any created thing – can separate us from our Lord. So no past sin is to rule over us, through the Law. All sin is dead in Christ. This very message has the power to make us new.
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code (Rom. 7:6).
We don’t just need a new year – every day is to be new to God in repentance and forgiveness. Turn from your possibilities and fake optimism, which can only be sinful and contrary to God, and hear God’s certain promises which will last beyond time and this earth. Live crucified to sin and the world in Christ, alive to God in confident faith. Every second is new and redeemed, because you are, through the promise of life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4).