“17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, NIV).
In popular culture, New Year’s Day has become a time for many people to reflect on the past year and resolve to be better, do better, work harder, or somehow get rid of a bad habit. But what if there’s a much greater way for us as Jesus followers to think about the potential that 2019 brings to us?
Good news: we don’t have to suck it up, gut it out, or fake it till we make it, ever again. The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Corinth that “New Year’s Day” arrives fresh every day, because we are already new creatures from the inside out. The old way of striving day by day—often with best intentions, but often motivated by selfish concerns—is done away with. The gospel means that by the power of the indwelling Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we live changed lives every day. The path forward for us in 2019 is the day-by-day journey toward Christlikeness.
As Paul wrote, he reminded first-century believers (and us) that God has already reconciled us to himself. We are forgiven. We are new. We have the power to reflect that we are God’s new people in a society desperately in need of reconciliation—both to God and to others. And God will use us as his agents in proclaiming that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.” Just think about it: one day the whole universe will experience reconciliation!
If our Lord returns in 2019, we will delight in the beginning of that glorious time of reconciliation which will last forever. If he does not return this year, then let us praise him that “he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” Here is our 2019 calling: to love the Lord our God with our whole being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, as we share the message of reconciliation through loving words and deeds.
“Our heavenly Father, we bless you for bringing us into a new calendar year. We acknowledge that your greatness and goodness to us are unending. Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through Jesus Christ our Lord. Teach us what it means that we are already new creatures in Christ, living through his power. Grant us understanding and wisdom to carry out in the coming year that you have committed to us the message of reconciliation. This we pray in the wonderful name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”