What’s really new?

What’s really new?

Mark G. Schroeder

There is something about the “new car smell” that appeals to just about everyone. Climb into a brand new vehicle, and you are greeted with the unique odor that unmistakably announces that this car has just come from the factory, in perfect condition, not yet spoiled by the Big Mac wrappers on the floor, the coffee stain, or the tennis shoes tucked behind the back seat.

There is something especially uplifting about moving into a newly built house. The appliances have never been used and work perfectly. There are no stains on the carpet from children’s spills and no sign of a previous canine or feline occupants. The walls are freshly painted, and the roof is perfectly waterproof.

Who doesn’t appreciate a new set of clothes? Whether you have gained a little weight or just completed a successful diet, the new clothes fit perfectly. There are no wrinkles to remove, no holes to mend, no buttons missing. New clothes have no hint of the wear and tear of a previous owner and no fading from repeated laundering.

And what touches us more than a new baby? Helpless and seemingly innocent, the little new life brings smiles to strangers’ faces and an indescribable sense of love and connection to the new parents. The very newness of that life points to the future, to a lifetime of experiences and potential and promise.

We like new things. We like new things because they have not yet been spoiled or ruined or broken. New things represent a fresh start, a new beginning, a break from the past.

Maybe that’s why the start of a new year is such a big thing in the minds of many people. Certainly it is nothing more than the turning of a calendar page and one more sunrise than the day before. Yet the very thought of the year being new leads many to believe that Jan. 1 is a fresh start, a new beginning, an opportunity to reset life and start over without the baggage of the past. The new year comes, and people think that this year things will be better. Their lives will be better. Their behavior will be better. At least, that’s what they resolve.

For God’s people, the new start in life doesn’t come once a year. It comes every day.

Jeremiah reminds us, “[The LORD’s] compassions never fail. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22,23). In each day of our lives filled with sin and failure and open rebellion against God, his mercy comes to us without fail. His mercy pours down on us in Christ, and his grace lifts us up into his loving arms. So each day we begin as another new day, another day to know that God has brought us from death to a new life as his child.

And each new day is also another opportunity to live a new kind of life for him. Each day we return to the new life he first gave us in our baptism—the new life we have—and look forward to a new kind of life he enables us to live. Paul wrote to the Romans, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).

With that in mind, every day of this new year can begin anew. Given new life by his mercy and grace, we are set free to live a new life of joyful, thankful obedience in him.

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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 103, Number 1
Issue: January 2016

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