Philippians 2:14-16a - Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life.
My friends, as we embark on this new year, know with certainty you can begin it anew. This is because the crucifixion cross of Christ has the power to forever wipe away all your past sins and regrets.
Just as you go to your physician for care and treatment, so also seek with godly determination to rid your soul of the "sin which clings so closely" (Hebrews 12:1b). You can do this by simply receiving into your eyes and ears the spiritually healing and life-giving Words of Jesus. Jesus told His disciples, just as He is saying to you and me today, "Already you are clean because of the Word that I have spoken to you" (John 15:3).
Jesus is our divine physician. He is our spiritual doctor. He fervently desires to heal our souls from the serious but curable disease of our sinful flesh. Today, as always, the doors to Christ's clinic stand wide open. From the crucifixion cross, He reaches out to us. Jesus said, "My Father is working until now, and I am working" (John 5:17b). Through the psalmist the Lord says, "He sent out His Word and healed them" (Psalm 107:20a). When life looks bleak, trust in the biblical promise of Hebrews 1 that God "upholds the universe by the Word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3b).
Whenever you find yourself sunk deep because of your sins, remember they are the sins Jesus Christ took to His bloody cross. And it is only the power of Jesus' shed blood on Calvary's cross that can wash you clean and enable you to start a new life of praise and thanksgiving to your Heavenly Father.
As we seek God and His mercy, we are reminded of the psalmist's earnest plea. "Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment" (Psalm 51:1-4).
And then, trusting in God's ever-present grace and forgiveness, David, our psalmist, knows that God can restore each of us to new life as His child—no matter what our sin has been. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).
May God do the same for each of us in this new year!
THE PRAYER: O Heavenly Father, by Your Spirit, refresh all who hear Your Word of Law and Gospel. Cleanse us from our sins and restore us to the joy of Your blessed salvation. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
From "A Cross for Complainers," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Wallace Schulz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you fear going to the doctor—for whatever reason?
2. Would you consider yourself a grumbler and/or complainer? Would other people think you are?
3. How do you rise above your circumstances so as not to let life get you down? Any advice to share?
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