New Beginnings Every Day
by Rev. M.Barnes, Former Pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church of Warsaw
Far too often I see people who are oppressed in the present concerning sins from the past. And this is a great evil.
In Philippians 3 Paul begins with a beautiful declaration that our actions, all the good we think we do in reality count as nothing toward our peace of mind, let alone our relationship with God. But it was not always so with Paul.
In spite of what Paul believed about how good his life was, how well structured, and with his impeccable credentials, the real truth was revealed to him on the road to Damascus. Paul came to the realization that in spite of all that he had going for God, he was a sinner like everyone else. He also discovered that in his zeal for the will of God he was actually fighting against it.
Yet the Lord Jesus, in appearing to Paul on the Damascus Road, did not come to punish him. Rather, the encounter was to change his heart and his life. All the things Paul trusted were now set aside, put in the past. All those areas of his sinful life where he had failed, even his sinful persecution of the church of Jesus, were lifted from him. Jesus gave Paul an absolution of all his past, and consecrated him into the service of the Lord. Now there remains only that which lies ahead, the promise of God in the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body to eternal life. The Lord revealed to Paul the cross of Jesus Christ, where true freedom, comfort, and salvation is revealed.
Paul did not let the past, with all its misplaced confidences and outright rebellion against God, define him. Instead, he focused his attention on the cross of Jesus and what that means for himself, and for all people.
He encourages you to do the same. How often have you let the past, particularly the guilt and weight of your personal sins, control who you are in the present? How often have you lived in the past of regrets and guilt, and allowed these things to define you in the present and to shape your future? How often have you let others (the devil, the world, a legalistic church) beat you down with the Law, with no reprieve? If you have, you are not alone. But there is freedom for you. The chains of your past are broken in Jesus Christ and Him nailed to the cross, and risen from the dead to life!
As the Baptized your life is not shaped by your past, it is created and defined by the One who holds eternity in His hands. Every day is new in Jesus with His forgiveness and salvation. Every day is a new start to your life because you have been forgiven. The burden of life, the sin and guilt that shackles you and weighs you down is nailed to the cross of Jesus, and you are now free to be the children of God.
Do you want to learn more about this forgiveness in Jesus and the freedom it offers? Contact me today!