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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 2013

Happy New Year! We made it! As it turns out, the Mayan calendar was off and the world did not come to an end! That could happen in 2013, I suppose, God has his own timetable for when Christ will return, but at least for today we begin a new year! This is the time of year where we like to make resolutions. Resolutions are decisions we make regarding changes we want to see in our lives in the upcoming year. We might say they are promises we make to ourselves. We promise ourselves to not eat unhealthy food, work-out more, read more books, go someplace new, etc. We may even try to be "spiritual" about it and commit ourselves to pray and read our bibles more. All of these are good and noble aspirations. But, of course, by February, most of us have already quit, failed, or given up on our resolutions. We aren't all that great at keeping promises to ourselves!

We can really place a heavy burden on ourselves when we make grandiose promises to God about how we are going to be better or do more for Him. We should always strive to lead God pleasing lives. But, we must keep in mind that this is not a goal we must resolve to achieve. Rather, a God pleasing life is something we have already been given by virtue of our baptisms. When Christ began His earthly ministry, at His baptism, God spoke over Him and said, "You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). God was pleased with Christ because He resolutely set His face towards Jerusalem where He obediently shed His blood as a sacrifice for our disobedience. He took from us all that was displeasing to God and made it His own. In exchange, He gave what was His: the faithful, obedient life that is pleasing to God. Our sin is Christ's, and Christ's righteousness is ours because of His death.

Do you realize, and believe (!), that you have a life that is already pleasing to God? This is mot be- cause of anything you or I have done, but it is because of what Jesus has done for us! When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit united you to Jesus. His death became your death, His resurrection became your new life. "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4). That is to say, you do not need to resolve to live a more God pleasing life this year in an effort to make God happy. Rather, because of (and only because of) Jesus, you are already walking in the newness of a God-pleasing life! With St. Paul we can say, "l have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 3:22).

As we enter into the new year, we do so by faith in the Son of God! We go into the new year free! Free from fear, free from condemnation, free from the guilt that weighs so heavy on us because of our sin. We go in baptized. The resolution that should guide you this new year is not some half-hearted resolution to diet. Rather, let God's resolution to save you and love you through Jesus Christ free you to live a life of joy and peace. Rejoice! You are baptized! Christ lives in you! He's resolved to do it! It's a promise! And God's promises don't change!

Pastor Bob

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email