God’s grace teaches us to renounce godlessness and worldly desires, and to live wisely, justly, and godly in this present time.
I like New Year’s Day, for the obvious reason that there’s a lot of football games on TV. But, in a deeper sense, a new year is refreshing because it’s the closest that Time comes to picturing the grace of God.
When we begin a new year, the slate is wiped clean.
And what happens when we put the past behind us? Inevitably, we look forward. We’re optimistic, and make resolutions to lose weight or to clean the broom closet. When we don’t have to lug last year into the future, we feel light and cheery. We don’t want to be slugs (for more than a day). We want to live.
Some think that, when Jesus forgives your sins, it makes you want to sin more. If you assure a criminal, for example, that, if he robs a bank, he will be immune from prosecution, wouldn’t that motivate him to rob more banks?
It would seem so. But let me ask you this: does the arrival of a New Year make you want to fail in your new resolution to lose fifteen pounds by summer? No, whenever we put the past behind us, we’re fired up to do better.
When I was an adolescent, we visited my grandma in Upper Michigan. I sat down at the piano, and, not knowing how to play, sounded awful.
Then my sister, Lois, who was a child prodigy at piano, sat down to play. Not to brag or anything, but she has gone on to play piano for the Detroit Metropolitan Opera. A vocalist demanded that she be flown to London as her accompanist. She has even performed at Carnegie Hall.
From memory, my sister played an intricate piano piece. And you know what? It sounded awful too! If Beethoven played this piano it would have hurt your ears, because grandma’s piano hadn’t been tuned since sometime before the French Revolution.
In the end, the New Year can evoke God’s grace, but cannot replace it. If we resolve to play a better song with our lives this coming year, but our piano is still out of tune, then we’ll produce nothing of beauty.
That’s why we need to confide in the Lord and to confess that our life is out of tune. His grace will tune us up.
I can hardly wait to start hammering away at “Chopsticks.”
(copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)