January 1, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The first day of the new year! This is traditionally the time we make New Year’s resolutions – to turn over a new leaf in one or more areas of our lives. Unfortunately, it is more a hope of remaking the old rather than All Things New! I have been there:
• “This time I am going to quit smoking! ” I accomplished that 50 years ago after many failures. At age 21, I was a three-pack-a-day sucker!
• “Today is the day I will seriously start my diet! ” I tell people, “I have kept my weight very stable ever since high school – never varied between 180 and 250!!! ” After many failures over the years, thank God I am now near the lower end of that spectrum!
You get the picture – New Year’s resolutions are often good intentions. But such resolutions are not the way to make All Things New!
Our featured Scripture is from Revelation 21:5 and 6:
…He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And
He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He
said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning
and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him
This Scripture is at the very end of God’s revealed Word – the next to the last chapter of the book of Revelation. At this future point in history…
• …the bodies of the righteous have been resurrected in perfection! (See Romans 6:5; I Corinthians 15:42-44, 49, 51-55; I John 3:2; Revelation 20:4-6).
• …our Lord has totally defeated Satan and his henchmen! (See Revelation 19:19-21). He has brought in a new world order founded in “…a new heaven and a new earth…” (Revelation 21:1).
• …the eternal kingdom of God has been established on the new earth! (See Psalm 146:10; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Daniel 7:18; Matthew 6:13; Luke 1:31-33; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 1:5; 11:15; 22:5).
But in Luke 17:21, Jesus tells us, “…behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” In other words, the kingdom of God is present even in this evil world, where Jesus the King is present in the hearts and lives of believers through the indwelling Holy Spirit. And where the King is, there is the power to make all things new!
For instance, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, believing that He died for our sins – for me – and receiving His righteousness (see II Corinthians 5:21), we are told in II Corinthians 5:15, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Paul is speaking of the potential we as Christians have:
• We still have our old sinful nature, called the flesh in many Scriptures (see for instance Romans 8:5-13).
• Our sinful nature (controlled by the evil one – see Romans 7:25; Ephesians 2:3) is constantly at war with our spiritual nature! (See Galatians 4:29). Paul writes in Galatians 5:17 (International Standard Version):
For what the flesh wants is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit
wants is opposed to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, and so
you do not do what you want to do.
• We can consistently depend upon the power of the Holy Spirit in our new nature to do what God leads us to do! (See Romans 13:14; II Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 2;20; 5:16, 24; Colossians 2:11; I Peter 4:1, 2).
Habits – bad habits – the likes against which I have struggled, such as smoking, drinking, and pornography. It is more than ‘bad habits’! Because bad habits can turn into life-controlling addictions! And I have been psychologically tested and shown to have a very addictive nature. So how is it that I have overcome such addictions?
• First of all, I have tried and failed many times! This led me to a burning desire to defeat my addictions!
• As a Christian, I read – and generally believed – that, as Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But how?
• I wondered, “Is there something I am missing? Is there something God has not yet given me that will help me get victory?” Then I read II Peter 1:3 and 4:
…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godli-
ness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to glory and virtue, by
which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that
through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped
the corruption that is in the world through lust.
God has already given me everything I need for victory!
• …and that victory is through the knowledge of Him and His exceedingly great and precious promises! So I determined to soak myself in the Word of God Bible! (See Colossians 3:16). I read and study the Bible every day!
• And then I read Philippians 2:12 and 13: “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Oh, sure! I got the fear and trembling part down pretty well! But God working in me to will and to do for His good pleasure was something new to me!
✞ Yes, I knew that He can do anything in and through me!
✞ But this says, He also works in me to will His good pleasure! He gives me the ‘want to’! And when you really want to do something, it is not hard to do it!
✞ So I often prayed, and still do, “Lord, give me the desire — the want to — to do Your will! ”
• With this knowledge, and this action on my part – as well as His power in and through me – I am experiencing victory! All Things are made New!
Happy New Year!