New Year, New You?

New years resolutions: what about the people that have already been made new in Christ? By Justin and Courtney Rose

Every new year, we hear about the importance of making resolutions and being made “new” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). These sermons are helpful and encouraging, but what about the people that have already been made new in Christ? Are they to be made newly new every new year? What does it mean for us to live out our newness year after year even when it doesn’t necessarily feel “new” anymore?

There’s a passage of Scripture that is found in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) which often leaves us scratching our heads. This is the parable where Jesus tells of the new and old garments and the new wine and old wineskins. In all three Gospels, we are told that no one puts a new patch on an old garment, because if you do, it will not match—you will ruin the new garment, and it will tear away from and ruin the old garment due to shrinking. We are also told not to put new wine into old wineskins, because it will burst and ruin both the wine and the wineskins.

We don’t know about you, but this is pretty confusing to us. Right before these passages, it is pointed out that the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist often fast, and so, Jesus is asked why His disciples don’t fast. Fasting is the spiritual practice of abstaining from something, usually food, in order to dedicate oneself to prayer. He is asked about fasting, because Jesus and His disciples feast and banquet often, usually with people considered unrighteous or “sinners.”

Jesus responds by saying that doctors are always around the sick, and so, He should always be around sinners, since He is here to save them. We also see that Jesus responds to the question of fasting by saying that you cannot mourn and fast while the bridegroom is with you; instead, you must celebrate.

The real issue that the Pharisees had was that Jesus was doing something different. He was teaching something new and telling His followers to live in a new way. Newness was hard for the religious institution of the Jews; in fact, newness has always been hard for the Church, as well. Sometimes, when something new is suggested or taught, people who are used to the old way are offended or hurt, because it can be interpreted as an indictment against them. This is what we see happening in this passage.

The disciples of John and the Pharisees were more concerned with holding onto the old ways rather than stepping into the new thing that Jesus was teaching. In the parable, Jesus’ word and teaching is that the patch of new garment and the new wine is not compatible with the old way of doing things.

When it comes to new things and life in Christ, there is no use for the old, sinful self. The old cannot co-exist with the new. When we think about the new year, this passage can be a challenge for us to remove all of the “old” from our lives, since it is not compatible with the new. We do not become new creations each day, but we do need to push off the old continuously and actively, remembering that we already have been made new, and should live accordingly.

  • January 1: Matthew 9:9-17
  • January 2: Mark 2:13-22
  • January 3: Luke 5:27-39
  • January 4: Matthew 13:47-52
  • January 5: Mark 1:21-28
  • January 6: Luke 22:7-28
  • January 7: John 13
  • January 8: Romans 6:1-14
  • January 9: Romans 7:1-6
  • January 10: 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
  • January 11: 2 Corinthians 3
  • January 12: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21
  • January 13: Galatians 6:11-16
  • January 14: Ephesians 2:11-22
  • January 15: Ephesians 4:17-32
  • January 16: Colossians 3:1-17
  • January 17: Hebrews 8
  • January 18: Hebrews 9
  • January 19: Hebrews 10:19-25
  • January 20: 1 Peter 1:3-12
  • January 21: 1 Peter 2:1-3
  • January 22: Revelation 2:12-17
  • January 23: Revelation 21:1-8
  • January 24: Revelation 21:9-27
  • January 25: Psalm 96
  • January 26: Psalm 98
  • January 27: Isaiah 42:1-9
  • January 28: Isaiah 43:14-28
  • January 29: Jeremiah 31:31-37
  • January 30: Lamentations 3:21-27
  • January 31: Ezekiel 11:14-25

You May Also Like