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Hope in the New Covenant, not the New Year

There is something about newness that brings excitement, anticipation, nervousness even. Think about sliding behind the steering wheel of a new car, with the smell of leather filling your nose, the sight of technology stimulating your eyes, the sound of stereo vibrating your ears, and the feel of the road awakening your body. The newness of a car can make your senses dance.

Likewise, a new year can usher in a thrill of hope and, sometimes, like this year, sheer relief. Where 2020 is concerned, it might seem as if you’re trading in a piece of junk jalopy for a brand new Bentley.

Collectively, the world is ready to put 2020 behind us. What was anticipated to be a year of clarity, change, and great vision was quickly blurred by a pandemic, politics and protests. While our nation is still bitterly divided, the one thing most everyone can agree on is the utter awfulness of 2020. It's been described as a dumpster fire. More times than I can count, I’ve heard people of all ages, ethnicities, social stations and beliefs say they can’t wait for the new year.

But will things really be different at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2021? Will the right portions of black eyed peas and cabbage ready us for a better day? Or is this hope just an attempt to reset what likely has been the most grueling year of our lifetimes?

I worry that come January, when many are still working from home, fearing public places, wearing masks, wrestling with politics, and fighting fresh Covid cases, the dream of a better year may be quickly dashed.

More than hoping for what a New Year might bring us, let’s hope in what the New Covenant has already brought us.

At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

The potential for a new heart and the promise of a new heaven and earth was bought for us through the cross of Christ. It was prophesied more than 600 years before Jesus through Jeremiah.

"Look, the days are coming - this is the Lord's declaration - when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant made with their ancestors ... I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people ... for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them - this is the Lord's declaration. For I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

The blood of Jesus became the once and for all sufficient sacrifice to cleanse us from our sins, to fulfill the prophecy, so that we could have a relationship with God and live in eternity with Him.

With the New Covenant – which is a new promise and a new hope – we can become new creations.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As stated in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, "In the new covenant, all of God's promises are fulfilled, especially those tied to the reversal of sin and death."

Our hope, then, as the old 1800s gospel hymn says (listen here), need not be in a new year but in the new beginning we can have only in Jesus.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

In ev’ry rough and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the vale. When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.

Not earth, nor hell, my soul can move; I rest upon unchanging love. I trust his righteous character, his counsel, promise, and his pow’r.

When he shall come with trumpet sound, oh, may I then in him be found, dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne

Celebrate the new year, as a gift from the Lord, another day He has given you to worship Him and make Him known.

But don’t hope in it.

Hope in the New Covenant, being a new creation in Christ, and the sure and faithful promise of a new heaven and new earth, where there will be no more sin, no more sickness and no more strife (Revelation 21:4).



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