If you’re anything like me, your email box and social media news feed and snail mail box are all full of missives proclaiming messages like “New Year, new you!” and recommended lists of resolutions to make this time around. But let’s not concentrate on who you can be or will be. Let’s concentrate on who you ARE; and more importantly, since you are in Christ, who He is.
If you read through the Bible each year you’ve likely spent the past few days in the book of Hebrews. If you haven’t read it recently, I encourage you to do so because it’s a wonderful reminder as we head toward a new year—a summary of God’s faithfulness to His people. The writer begins by telling us who Jesus is—much greater than the angels, the Son of God who will sit at His right hand. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1)
Next the writer quotes Psalm 8 (What is man that You are mindful of him?) and talks about how we are one with Christ: “For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (2:11) And this is not an earthly sibling who drives you crazy; this Brother shares your pain. “Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (2:17)
And in this New Year theme where we are likely reminded yet again how we fall short in keeping the resolutions we made so boldly in years past, we are told how Jesus is faithful (3:2) and exhorted “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” (3:14)
“Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (6:9-12)
We fall short, but He does not. In all this talk about the person and character and works of Jesus, remember who you are. He calls us brothers (Hebrews 2:11), adopted sons (Ephesians 1:5), and his beloved bride (Isaiah 54:5). A few pages further on, in Revelation, we see the wedding feast of the Lamb. His Bride, messy and sinful and imperfect as she is, has made herself ready. But when the Book of Life is to be read, who is worthy to open it? Only Jesus, who redeemed us. (Revelation 5:9,12)
My prayer for you this New Year is “Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation… You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14-15, 17-18)