December 31, 2023
Dear friend, it just so happens that it is on New Year’s Day that we analyze the past year, look at what fruits we brought, and want to start the new year, as they say, with a clean slate.
Today I was thinking about the word “new”. According to the dictionary, it has the following meaning: being other than the former or old; different from one of the same category that has existed previously. This reminds me of three Scriptures through which the Lord speaks to us.
First, about the New Covenant that God made with us. The Lord, through the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, says: ”Surely, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law within them and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.“ (Jeremiah 31:31, 33). Friend, is the law written within you? Is it engraved by the Holy Spirit on the tablets of your heart? Have you loved what pleases the Lord?
This truth is confirmed by Jesus’ beloved disciple John, who says: ”By this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word truly has the love of God perfected in him. By this we know we are in Him. Whoever says he remains in Him ought to walk as He walked.“ (1 John 2:3-6)
Second, the Apostle Paul speaks of the true experience of spiritual birth from above and walk with Christ, reminding us of newness of life: ”Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death, so shall we also be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him, so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we should no longer be slaves to sin. For the one who has died is freed from sin.“ (Romans 6:4-7).
So, the New Testament is marked by new life in Christ. These are not just words – this is a changed blessed life with abundance, from which rivers of living water flow. The heart is involved in this. ”… if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.“ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
And thirdly, our dear Lord promises us a new life. ”“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except he who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17 ). Oh, what a name that will be and the sound of it in everlasting life!
”Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth.” For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea.“ (Revelation 21:1). He makes all things new.
”‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death.’ Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain, for the former things have passed away.” He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. No unclean thing shall ever enter it, nor shall anyone who commits abomination or falsehood, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.“ (Revelation 21:4, 7, 27)
”Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.“ (Revelation 22:14, 21)
Let each of us test and examine our faith, what fruit we have borne this past year and how we can become more and more partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Happy New Year!
Max Volkov in Christ