Is it your New Year?

The ushering in of a New Year is a welcome event to most people.. Lest they
miss the excitement of the transition of the old into new, many people keep awake
through the night of the last day of the last month. The celebration wanes off by the
end of the day and one discovers that nothing has become new except the calendar
that has replaced the old. Old problems and previous sorrows linger on. The
oppressive employer, the nagging neighbor the disharmony at home, the
uncertainties of the future are still there. What newness can be brought in just by a
good meal, good dress and the sound of crackers that rend the air? It is another
vanity that vanishes thin into the air.

The walls may receive anew paint but the brick and the mortar inside remain
the same. With the fears and sorrows still locked in the heart, what newness can
come just by wearing something brand new?

The history of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt thirty-four centuries ago was just
that. Sighing and sorrow, poverty and slavery were their lot under Pharaoh and his
taskmasters. Months and years rolled by. The tyranny of Pharaoh would not lessen
nor the tears of their tormented souls cease. What joy, what newness could there be
to a soul in slavery and sorrow? The universal disease called SIN has done just that
to the whole world. Sin appears a pleasure to begin with, but slowly it turns into a
power. The monsters of lust, greed, selfishness, deception and envy, rule and ruin
the hearts of people. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant (or slave) of sin", the
Lord Jesus said (John 8:34). Sin brings the wages of eternal death (Rom.6: 23). Sin
brings guilt and guilt brings unrest. Fear and frustration cause people to go to the
extreme act of committing suicide.

Hebrew slaves cried in desperation. Their tormentors were too strong for
them. God in heaven saw their plight and sent a savior in the person of Moses. God
did this to deliver a small community of people. Later God sent a global Saviour in
the Person of Jesus of Bethlehem. No human is concerned or capable enough of
solving the sorrows of men. The Scripture says, "...he saw that there was no
man...therefore his own arm brought salvation" (lsa.59: 16). In the Person of Jesus
on the cross, God stretched out His arm of sympathy and salvation.

Deliverance to the Hebrew slaves came not by signs and wonders that Moses
performed. Victory came through the blood of the slain Passover lamb. This incident
is recorded for us in Exodus 12 and this is one of the "cross" chapters in the Old
Testament. "...we have redemption", Eph.1 :7tells us "through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace". Salvation is in Christ. He is
our Passover Lamb. Salvation is offered free for the recipient but for the Donor, it did
cost Him His all. Deliverance demanded the blood of Jesus.

Salvation is conditional. Though Christ is the potential Saviour of all, He is the
practical Saviour of only those who repent and believe on Him. He is "the Saviour of
all men", Paul tells us, "specially of those that believe" (1 Tim.4:10). The belief or
faith envisaged here is a special kind of faith. It is not merely intellectual -a mental
grasp and acceptance of objective, historical truths. It is a faith that comes with
repentance. Repentance that is Biblical involves two things. Firstly, there is a turning
away from sin in godly sorrow and secondly, there is a turning to and a yielding to
God and His will. Biblical faith is always a sequel to Biblical repentance. The Hebrew
slave who applied the blood of the slain lamb was spared and the one who did not,
perished. The slaying of the lamb alone did not bring salvation but the applying of its
blood did. God did not save the Hebrew slaves because they deserved it. God does
not save anybody because he or she deserves it. Salvation is always by 'grace'.
Salvation is God's unmerited favor to undeserving sinners.

The work of redemption -the slaying of the lamb and the application of its
blood -brought a new start to the life of a Hebrew slave. The years that had gone
before were left uncounted and unvalued. Divine dating begins with salvation. "This
month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the
year to you" (Exo.12:2). God values only Redemption years and not calendar years.
Have you begun with God? January firsts may come and go. They have no real and
lasting significance. In the life of the Hebrew slave, redemption through the blood
marked a new beginning.

Such a beginning is characterized by four aspects. Firstly, it was a beginning
of their liberty from all bondage. God in His mercy freed the slaves. Secondly, it
marked the beginning of their separation. Salvation must be followed by separation.
Thirdly, it was the beginning of God's continual provision. It was a marvel that God
fed two to three million people in the wilderness by raining manna from heaven.
Fourthly, it marked the beginning of revelations regarding Himself, His Law and His
Sanctuary.

God desires to initiate such a fourfold beginning in your life and mine. Christ
was made sin for us on the cross (2 Cor.5: 21), only to initiate such a new year in
our lives. Have you begun with Christ NEW YEAR?

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   Matthew 24: 42