There is a reason for us to be cheerful. And because of it, we can continue into this New Year with great hope and courage, unless you do not have in you that which makes you cheerful. It is the condemnation of sin. The greatest burden a person born of a woman bears is the burden of sin and all it begets. Man begins his familiarity in this world through sin. Sin deprives everything God intends to give. It not only supports itself, but it compels itself, i.e. it fills itself beyond necessity so that a person stays in sin and has every chance of going from sin to sin. It is for this reason it is able to cause certain death. It has many forms and many ways. It is so consuming that it leads a person to unjust things as well as giving him destructive thoughts. It makes everything he does appear seemingly right so that he cares less to differentiate the right from the wrong, the ethical from the unethical and the profitable from the unprofitable. It influences his functioning to the point of making him unbearable. And he becomes a burden both to himself and to others. He brings negative consequences upon himself as well as upon those immediately influenced by him.
Unless one is redeemed from the belligerent life caused by sin, he or she is not free. And thanks be to God who cared for men in that He willed to denounce sin in all who believed that it can be condemned and that there is a better life than of sin. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Paul describes how well an act God did in making us free both in this world and for the world to come. Nothing could make a man free of sin other than the blood of God’s Son and God did not hesitate in killing Him. No law or work of the flesh can do what God did. In fact, the Law, which He ordained through Moses, too could not do it. It was weak, as it required men in sinful flesh to offer sacrifices of the flesh. Therefore, the offerings too were less holy to what God was able to offer and required for the condemning of sin. Where the Law failed God did not. Because of its incompleteness the Law still bound men to sin and death whereas God’s offering of His sinless Son for sin did not. Meaning, that the one who believes in Him will no longer face eternal damnation which is the reason for us to be absolutely cheerful.
As each year goes by we wonder at the way time flies and this fast paced and busy life makes it all the more true. There appears to be many things yet to be accomplished, many things to plan for and many things to take care of. But in all these head splintering issues one thing that remains constant and of which we ought to be mindfully cheerful for is our freedom from sin and death. Only a person in whom there is the condemnation of sin clearly understands it; to the rest it simply is fictitious. The rest suffer the consequences of doing wrong, though they do not seriously consider it the result of sin working in them. The news of Christ’s death on the cross alone can make them seriously consider it, for in it God has put all His power to save. Those who already have the good news can look forward to greater things. They need not run life like the rest. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Those with condemned sin become rich by the means and will of Christ while the rest become rich or possess things through the power of sin. The power of sin provides well giving the leverage to men to ignore God and the life He can give. Its provisions are merely material without the confidence, control and satisfaction of them. Hence, men are always in want and in search furthering them in sin. But God through Christ cancels out sin by condemning it and begins to give men all things along with the confidence, control and satisfaction of them. Hence, believers are never in want. At every want He makes provisions that they need not conform to the flesh and are without condemnation. Sin deceptively satisfies men, since it does not avoid the bad and hurtful consequences that lead to condemnation; for it is its nature. God satisfies men without negative consequences; for it is His nature. Now, how can we in whom sin is condemned understand this? The Spirit in Paul says “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7). We understand by restraining lawlessness.
We know that sin is lawlessness, i.e. it absolutely follows no law. When it is condemned in a person, he begins to clearly see its nature. As he restrains it, he suffers and keeps unfolding its mystery both for himself and for those whom God appointed him. When he has done it enough, to the extent God required, he will be taken out the way of lawlessness for perpetual rest. Do not wonder or fear whether you can fulfill the task of restraining it and obtain the understanding of how God supplies as opposed to what sin supplies. For see what has been said of you: “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Pet. 1:2). Because you are saved, you are where you are at the moment. Firstly, you are chosen by God for a specific purpose. You were in His foreknowledge, which means you are safe and He will accomplish all that He seeks from you. Secondly, don’t panic if you have disobeyed or have fallen. The Spirit purified you to obey Christ so that Christ’s blood is always for you. As you stand up again you will experience His grace and peace that are fully reserved for you in the most unimaginable of ways. For this reason, you have a good reason to be cheerful while continuing into this New Year.
Note that the following has been His perspective of you from ages past.
- His exemption of you. Since you are saved, He has thought of you in advance because of what will ultimately follow. “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God’” (Rev. 16:1). When the world ends, you still live.
- His purpose for you. “But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also’” (Acts 23:11). This God purposed of Saul while he was still in darkness. Even so He purposed you to be His vessel before He saved you by grace through faith. You must realize He will not let you go to waste just as you wouldn’t an article when you buy it. He bought you with His Son’s sinless blood and made you holy. So, be ready to be used by Him.
- His provision for you. “Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, ‘A great prophet has arisen among us!’ and, ‘God has visited His people!’” (Luke 7:16). God has made Christ your help to provide you with anything you need from time to time.