Well, we're about two weeks into the New Year and I must ask "What's new?" Things that are new for me are a goatee (I have never before worn one), vacation plans set and paid for so my wife and I can celebrate our 20th anniversary later this year, and new tax software.
A new year is supposed to bring about new possibilities, or getting a redo on the fumbled possibilities of last year. However, in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 King Solomon says, "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, 'See this, it is new '? Already it has existed for ages Which were before us." He follows this with a depressing list of the things of life with which we consume ourselves daily which result in nothing but "vanity" (click here to read all that he lists).
All the things that Solomon listed were things that he tried to gain on his own efforts with his own understanding ("I", "myself", "my" - e.g. Chapter 2). However, you can test for yourself and see that the only things that are truly new and lasting are the things of God. Things like a new covenant (Luke 22:20), a new commandment (John 13:34-35), new life (Romans 6:4), the new creature He can transform you into (2 Corinthians 5:17), a new attitude (Ephesians 4:24), a new way (Hebrews 10:19-20), a new heavens and a new earth (2 Peter 3:10,13), a new name (Revelation 3:12), a new song (Revelation 5:9 & 14:3), and he'll finish by making "all things new" (Revelation 21:1-5).
God's work is a lasting work and God's mind is a unsearchable. We can find nothing new in our limited knowledge and scope, but God can show us things about Him that we could never know apart from Him. He's willing to show you and I those things. He desires that we would be intimately related to Him because He loves us. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross. We cannot know Him as long as we remain self-sufficient and sinful. We are separated from Him by our failure to keep His laws. Jesus paid the price for our sin so we can experience the promises of the New Covenant so we will want to love according to the New Commandment so we can experience the new life and become a new creature with a new attitude. This will open the new way to the new heavens where we will receive His new name, sing a new song and witness God's transformation of everything from the old to the new.
This is the only way we will see anything new and the only way we will survive beyond this physical life (2 Peter 3). I hope you will accept the offer God is extending to you in this new year. We are not guaranteed another year or even another day. After all of King Solomon's searching, this is what he learned: "The conclusion , when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil"
Will you be ready? By the grace purchased through the blood of Christ, I am. Please don't wait another day, come and be made new.
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet