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A new life in the new year

A new life in the new year

A new year. A new life.

Across the globe the turn of another year is a time of new beginnings.

China's New Year Festival

316NOW is recognizing China’s celebration of its traditional New Year and Spring Festival with our 15 Days of Prayer effort, January 28-February 11. Like other New Year celebrations it emphasizes starting over, starting anew.

Colossians 2:6-15 details the new life we Christians enjoy because faith in Jesus has united us with the fullness of God. And this new life is a reality every day of every year.

Colossians 2:6-15

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by[c] Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

The fullness of Christ

The fullness of Christ gives us two things: it cleanses us from sin, and it raises us to new life!

Paul is stressing that the forgiveness of sins brings us freedom over the powers of evil. 

  • We have a new record. Jesus’ payment for sin and his righteous life becomes ours. 
  • We also have new power. The Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us, bringing new life and power to grow in Christlikeness. 

New record. New power.

Notice that the Bible does not separate our new record and new power. One without the other is not true fullness. 

  • What if you were given a new record but no new power to live the Christian life ? That would be hollow and empty because you would soon fall. 
  • What if you were given a new power but no new record? You could change but you would still stand condemned because your past could not be erased. 

But in Christ, you get it all. You are regenerated, forgiven, and treated as if you had perfectly obeyed the law. The Holy Spirit gives you the power to grow in your sanctification. And you are promised that one day you will be made perfect and live with God forever. 

In Christ we lack nothing

No wonder Paul argues that you are full to overflowing! You lack nothing. You don’t need Christ plus something else. He is enough. All that he is, we are. 

Source: Heart of the Matter: Daily Reflections for Changing Hearts and Lives by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, New Growth Press (2012).