[PC-USA] 2000-01-02 - Passages About New Beginnings

God has often been called the "God of a second chance," and with good reason. As soon as we confess and repent from our sins, God gives us another new beginning. At this beginning of 2000, He not only gives us a new millennium, a new year; He gives us a new heart when we are saved, and each day -- even each minute -- is a fresh slate from Him. What did you see when you looked in the mirror this morning? The mistakes you have made in the past year? The hurts of the last year? That is not what God sees when He looks at us. He sees us as a "new creation," clothed in Jesus' righteousness, and He sees the potential we have to be our best for Him in the next year. He envisions all the gifts He has prepared for us in the coming year, and the opportunities we have to serve Him and our fellowman. Let's look at some passages about God's gifts of new beginnings.

In His provision of salvation for us, God has given us a new life:

(Isa 43:18-19 NRSV) Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

(2 Cor 5:17 NRSV) So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Ezek 36:25-27 NRSV) I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Every day, and every moment is a new gifts from God, to be treasured:

(Lam 3:22-23 NRSV) The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God gives us "another chance," by forgiving and cleansing us every time we confess and repent:

(1 John 1:9 NRSV) If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Likewise we are to forgive others, and in fact, our own forgiveness is contingent upon our forgiving them.

(Mat 6:14-15 NRSV) For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

We are to learn from the past, but not remain mired in it -- instead moving toward his new beginnings for us:

(Phil 3:12-14 NRSV) Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

And one day the entire world will be new:

(2 Pet 3:13 NRSV) But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.