“Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance … “ (Hebrews 9:15)
Now that the fireworks are over, it is time to embrace the new year. My hope for all of us is that this year we experience a greater amount of the happiness and the blessed life that the Bible promises are available to us. And I am not just here to wish you a happy and blessed new year or hope for one. I seek to help us be proactive, to do what can cause our new years to be happier and more blessed than the old. For many of us, the last year was difficult. But even after a good year, we should not lower our expectations for the next being even better.
A Happy and Blessed new year
I add the word “blessed” to the familiar greeting. Why? Because happiness can be fleeting and can even come from things that we might later regret. A blessed life springs from a deeper level of knowing and experiencing the goodness of God. This can bring joy and happiness with no sorrow added. Perhaps that is why the word “happy” only appears six times in the NKJV New Testament. Yet the word “blessed” appears eighty-seven times. Suffice to say that if we can find out how to have a more blessed new year, we will also find more happiness as well.
A Happy and Blessed New Year
New things can instill hope in us just by giving us something new to hope for. It is good to pause and consider that there is hope for a happier new year inherent in it being a new year. God encourages us in this, knowing we crave and need hope. For this reason, he gives us new days, new weeks, new months, and new years. When things have not gone as planned in the space of the old timeframe, we can look forward to resets. There are the new days, weeks, months, and years. We are given new timeframes in which to hope for and find the new and better things that He has planned for us. Scripture tells us Father God purposely provided a new supply of manna, bread in the desert, each day. Psalms tell us His mercies are new every morning.
What is new, in the New Testament?
So, if new things can bring hope and happiness, what is described as “new” in the New Testament?” Surprisingly, very few things. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, only use the word about half a dozen times or less. Their new items include cloth, wine, and a tomb. (see Matthew 9:16, 27:60)
The cloth, wine, and tomb all relate to the story of the most important new thing, the new covenant (Matthew 26:28). Jesus tells us it is not good to try to patch an old garment with new cloth, it will only make matters worse. He doubles down on the same thought by saying you cannot put new wine in an old wineskin without ruining both. Some Jewish leaders wanted to make Christianity conform to the old religious traditions, to put the new into the old. The new covenant cannot be used to patch up the old covenant, it must replace it completely.
The rest of the New Testament books also focus on the one new, new thing. They tell of what will happen for the person who embraces the new covenant. It will make the person new as well.
Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new…(2 Cor 5:17)
The other New Testament books tell us the new covenant makes us a new creation, gives us a new relationship with God as our Father, and a new life everlasting.
Some old things can be made new
Unfortunately, we can make the mistake of bringing old ways of thinking and old behaviors into a new year or a new relationship. The old habits can get in our way. Therefore, the Lord tells us we can and must make some old things new again, we can re-new them. Psalm 103:5 (AMPC) says, if we speak His word over our lives, our youthfulness, our physical strength can be renewed. Like the eagle we can be invigorated, strong, overcoming, and soaring.
The most important thing to renew is our minds, for that is where the battle for our new life takes place. What can renew our minds? The new way of thinking and being offered to us in the new covenant can transform us.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Romans 12:2 (AMPC).
What are you resolving to do this year?
I hope and pray that every good new thing you seek to take hold of this year comes to you. I encourage you to include this at the top of your list. Resolve to take some time to diligently seek the knowledge of what grace provides to those who are in covenant with Christ. Doing this will ensure that you have a happy and blessed new year.