God's New Things In the New Year

by Wayne Barber

Well, January 1st comes all too fast the older we get, doesn't it? It's sort of bitter sweet as it ends a chapter in our lives, but it also begins a brand new chapter. The word "new" is not a strange word in God's vocabulary. He is the God who does new things. In the New Testament, "new" can be translated from two different Greek words. The first is nes. It simply refers to new, but not qualitatively new. For example, in Luke 5:37, the wine referred to is new, but is still wine. The second word is much more meaningful in describing how God does new things. It is kains, which means qualitatively new-never before seen. If I buy another car, that's nes. But if I buy a spaceship, that's qualitatively brand new-never seen or experienced before.

This is what God does in our lives as we live surrendered to Him. He takes us into that which we have never seen or experienced before-love for the unlovable; hope in the midst of despair; comfort in the midst of sorrow. Kains, qualitatively brand new, is the word used to describe the "new covenant" believers have with God through Christ. It is the word used to describe the new creation we have become in Christ Jesus: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. also 1 Cor. 11:25). The "new heaven and the new earth" (Rev. 21:1) are also kains-totally incomparable to what we have now. God is the only one who can cause these qualitatively brand new spiritual things.

The Christian life is such a journey as we learn to walk with Christ day by day, when we allow Him to take us into new things. I love what God told Israel in Isaiah 43:18-19: "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." In the Septuagint, "new" in this passage is kains-Behold I will do a qualitatively new thing. God told them that He would transcend their past and that He would transform their present. Only God can do that. God is the God of new things!

What 2005 holds for us as a nation is yet to be experienced. Thank God we have a president that stands where Bible-believing Christians stand! It is, to me, as if God has opened a window and given us another opportunity as believers to touch this world. We must learn to get out of His way by surrendering to Him and His will, thus allowing Christ to do the new things through us. Revival is such a desperate need in our churches. We so need His fresh touch. Regardless what life brings us, we know that our God wants to teach us the freshness of His new things. He wants to live His life through us!

Think back to last year and write down all the "new things" God taught you about yourself and about Himself as He worked in your life. I've started signing my letters, "Enjoying the journey," because that is exactly what the Christian life is all about. My prayer for you this coming year is for you to walk in the "newness" of Christ and to allow Him to be in and through you what only He can be! Enjoy the journey!

Wayne Barber is senior pastor of Hoffmantown Church
in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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