Devotional: ‘This New Year, Start with the Gospel’ (29 Dec 2019)

The Bible doesn’t have much to say about New Year the way we know it. One reason is that we follow a slightly different calendar. Another reason is that fireworks were only invented after the Bible was written (around the year 900AD if you’re interested).

But for God’s people in the Old Testament, ‘the beginning of months’ was a very significant celebration. And it was based on the grace God had shown his people when he redeemed them from slavery in Egypt. You can read all about it in Exodus 12.

‘The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household […] the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. […] The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast’ (Exodus 12:1–14 ESV)

Every year, at the beginning of the New Year, God’s people would remind themselves who they were, and what price had been paid to secure their relationship with God. 

The sacrifice of the lambs at Passover was looking forward to when Jesus shed his blood for us. In the New Testament, we’re told, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.‘ (1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV)

As you start 2020, before you get to your resolutions for physical, financial and social self-improvement, stop and remind yourself who you are in Christ, and what price was paid for your sin to make you one of God’s people. 

And then base your resolutions on how you can better reflect the reality of the gospel in your life. With God’s Spirit to help you, these might even be more achievable!

Live it: In the New Year, what goals do you have for knowing and loving Jesus more, and becoming more like him? How are you going to pursue these goals?