So how are you doing with those new year’s resolutions?
If your best intentions amount to a false start barely a month into 2022, don’t despair.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
There’s something about that statement that exudes optimism and resolve for a brighter tomorrow. It often marks a time to turn the page on the past and begin writing a new chapter for your life. No looking back, full steam ahead, fresh start, clean slate.
That’s the beauty of living in light of eternity. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. He is the Light of the World. His name is Jesus, and He wants to guide you into His plans and purposes for your life. He promises to walk with you through the darkness into His marvelous light. If you trust and follow Him, you will come to know and experience Him as your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD
How can I know this, you ask? We have this faithful promise from God’s Word in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).
Of all the life-changing promises of God in Scripture, Romans 8:28 is, quite possibly, second in magnitude only to God’s promise of eternal salvation through His forgiveness of sin. Too often, however, those who receive God’s forgiveness fail to realize that eternal life begins with their surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord. While Heaven is a Christ-follower’s ultimate destination, the journey of walking by faith and not sight begins this side of eternity.
When you turn from your sin through repentance and turn to God in trust and obedience, you immediately go from the walking dead, condemned and trapped in your sin, to supernaturally alive and free in Christ. Your grave clothes are forevermore replaced with His righteousness.
In other words, your eternal life actually begins at the moment you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Immediately, you have a new identity— child of God— that doesn’t fade, wear out or expire.
As a Christian, you are no longer a victim or simply a survivor. Instead, you are a victor, an overcomer through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross and victorious resurrection from the grave. And while sin can have lasting consequences on this earth, it cannot not define us, nor can it rule our hearts and minds when our identity is in Christ Jesus. A Christian’s value or self-worth is not determined by others’ opinions but what Christ has done on their behalf.
And that’s why Romans 8:28 is such a powerfully liberating promise from God’s Word. Did you see it? That itty-bitty, three-letter word that immediately follows God? ALL— a little word with an infinite reach and unlimited power. This word encompasses your past, present and future. It’s a word that defines itself. All means—ALL. The good, the bad and the ugly. Successes and failures. Shattered dreams and broken promises. Everything. No exceptions. But and if, need not apply.
FROM WORST TO GREATEST
If God can take the worst day in human history—the crucifixion of His innocent, sinless Son—and three days later, turn it into the greatest day in the history of mankind by raising Jesus from the death to life, shouldn’t God be trustworthy to redeem our lives for our good and His glory?
The Book of Hebrews provides an apt description of what it means to live in light of eternity. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV).
Jesus was able to endure His torturous crucifixion because He knew His suffering and sacrificial death would satisfy God’s righteous judgment of sin and make forgiveness possible for all who repent of their sins. Living in light of eternity recognizes that since Jesus suffered for our sake, the suffering we endure is temporary. And whether our suffering is self-inflicted or no fault of our own, there is victory for those who are in Christ. Romans 8:8: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Think about it this way: Jesus being infinite, suffered for a finite period of time so that we, being finite, could be saved from suffering for an infinite period time.
Furthermore, to run with endurance the race set before you, means that instead of looking back on your life regretfully or longingly, you choose to move forward in faith, trusting that God’s ways are for your best. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” Through daily prayer, Bible study and obedient surrender of your life to His, you can know Jesus as the author and perfecter of your faith—a faith that produces joy even in the midst of suffering.
Remember that great cloud of witnesses referenced in Hebrews 12? The Bible is replete with examples of how God delivers people from their brokenness and despair and displays His power and strength in the lives of those who love and obey Him.
THE LONG VIEW
When I ponder God’s gift of G.R.A.C.E.—God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense— I’m filled with gratitude. My current challenges and problems shrink when I think about the breadth, depth and height of God’s love. God’s Word promises His followers that nothing can separate a child of God from His love. Romans 8:38-39: 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When I consider that Jesus died in my place to save me from the condemnation of my sin and to set me free to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, my hurt and bitterness melt away. As I count the cost of my redemption that Jesus paid on my behalf, the joy of my salvation consumes my focus. In Romans, chapter eight, the Apostle Paul explains how Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross enables and empowers you and me to experience the power of God through the Holy Spirit abiding in our lives.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
By choosing to live with an eternal perspective, you no longer evaluate your circumstances simply by what you can see in the moment, or what you think you know about the situation at hand. Instead, you choose to take the long view while trusting that God, who is rich in mercy, is sovereign over your affairs and working all things for your good and His glory.
So, Happy New Year and Happy New Life! God really does make all things new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)