We are now several days into 2016, and the new year has already confirmed what I knew would be true at the dawn of the year. The new year is accompanied by natural disasters like the earthquake in India and Bangladesh that killed 13 people. Cancer and other illnesses continue to sicken and kill more people. The New Year did not result into an absence of unnatural and sinful relationships. People, including the unborn, are still murdered in the new year. On a less serious note, your new year resolutions have probably already failed to materialize–like all the other New Year resolutions before it.
Personally, the new year didn’t automatically transform me into a new person. Calendar changes do not result into character changes. I was the same man at 12:01 a.m on January 1st, 2016 as I was at 11:59 p.m on December 31st, 2015. I am still a sinner. This year, I have already sinned in thought, sight, speech, and deed. The reality is: The New Year isn’t New.
Of course, there is a form of newness to 2016. We are or will be another year older this year. God will create new people this year, and many of them will be born to new parents. Many engaged couples, including some of whom are my friends, will marry this year. Maybe, I will finally witness my Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup for the first time since I became a fan of the team, even if their performance of late suggests otherwise. Perhaps, even more unlikely and new, I may start dating a lady sometime this year–that’s right ladies, this studmuffin is still on the market…oh la la. Seriously, though, there is certainly something new about the year 2016, in fact, the very notion that we are now in the year 2016 suggests newness. As 2016 reminds us that the Church has been waiting for the return of our Lord for over 2000 years. We eagerly wait for his return because we recognize the reality that “what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) ” We know that just as we sinned last year, we sin this year. We know that just as we sinned yesterday, we sin today, and we will sin tomorrow. Therefore, the imperfections of the world, and particularly, my own imperfections induces within me a yearning for the perfection of the true New Year—when all things will genuinely be made new by the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation 21: 1-5, the apostle John writes:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
The return of Jesus Christ will culminate in a new era in creation when all dead believers will be resurrected to join their living counterparts to receive new and perfect bodies (a perfect and righteous nature) to inhabit a new and perfect earth. As a result of the new bodies and the new earth, sin and suffering will cease; diseases and death will be mere memories. And we will see our Creator and Saviour face-to-face, as it is He, not ourselves, nor angels, who will wipe away our final tears from our eyes. We will never experience loneliness again, as God himself will dwell with us physically in perfect harmony forever in eternity.
However—frankly, this is the most important “however” you’ll ever come across—only those who experience newness on this earth will receive new bodies to inhabit the new earth upon the second coming of Jesus Christ. If you do not experience genuine newness through believing in Christ and repenting of your sins, you will suffer the wrath of God in Hell forever. Unlike the believers who will experience perfect satisfaction and peace with God forever in Heaven, you will experience perfect suffering and pain forever in Hell.
When a person repents and believes in Jesus Christ upon receiving the news that Christ atoned for the sins of sinners by receiving the wrath of God on a cross to the point of His death, and resurrecting three days later, the Bible teaches that the repented sinner becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Meaning, that God changes the natures and desires of repented sinners. Upon faith in Jesus Christ, a person will begin to love and desire God, even as they were unable to do so previously. When this happens, the repented sinner will not be made perfect, not until the return of Christ, however, the repented sinner will start fighting sin. They will not be sinless, but they will generally, start sinning less, as God will be make them grow in godliness.
Therefore, I urge you to repent of your sins, and trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation from the consequences of your sins. In doing so, you’ll experience the only real newness one will discover on this earth—the salvation of your soul. Then, , you and many of us will wait for our new bodies and new earth together as we anticipate the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps, that may happen this year, in fact, it may happen today, so maybe, 2016 will present something new after all.