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New Years Do Not Give Clean Starts

Reflecting is good. It’s what we instinctively do at the start of a new year. Reflecting often leads to regrets. Regrets over failings, shortcomings, and goals not achieved. And where do these reflections and regrets often lead? Resolutions of course. Resolutions to do better in the coming year. It is as if the dawning of a new year somehow magically gives you a clean start. And anyone should be able to empathize with that line of thinking. Maybe we get lazier and more neglectful as the usual busyness of the holiday season approaches. Perhaps there is an anticipation of relief that once January 1 arrives, that will be my opportunity to have a clean start and get back to it – whatever “it” is. But new years do not give clean starts. If we want to play with semantics, we might better refer to it as a “fresh start”. But not a clean one. Why does it matter?

Faith Alone in Jesus Gives a Clean Start
You see, once the new year comes and you embark on making resolutions and being a better mom, working harder on your studies, or not using filthy language, none of those shortcomings from the past year have been cleansed. You may have a fresh start, but not a clean start. To have a clean start, you must go to Jesus. It is only the blood of Christ that can wash away sin. It is only the power of the Resurrected Christ which can give you new life.

Baptism Will Not Give You a Clean Start
Not even water baptism will do. What good is a soaking-wet sinner? If we rely upon baptism for washing away of sin then we have made a blasphemous work out of God’s ordained way one should publicly express a faith in Christ and cleansing by the Holy Spirit they have already received by faith alone in Jesus. Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.

What You Need is a Clean Heart
For clarity’s sake, taking inventory of our lives and making resolutions is a good practice. But may they always be accompanied by prayer and the acknowledgment that no amount of good intentions for the coming year will make you right with God. We have failed this past year. We have sinned. We will sin even today. The only way we may truly be cleansed from the guilt of our sin is through faith alone in Jesus Christ. And when you repent and trust in Jesus Christ God gives a clean heart. In fact, God gives a new heart. A heart that is cleansed from sin which makes spiritual resolutions and commitments only because this new heart desires to please the One Who has made him clean. Hebrews 10:16-17 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds," then he adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." So, if you really want to start your year off right, then get right with God. Repent of your sin and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. You will not be given a clean start so you can then try to make it to heaven. You will be given a clean heart that is fit for heaven. And this is the gospel truth.