Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:24

Article of faith: Don’t celebrate the coming of the new year - Femi Aribisala

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Jesus says to His disciples: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13).

How does a believer lose his flavour? When he behaves just like the world. He becomes worthless as far as the kingdom of God is concerned.

Therefore, Paul counsels: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).

The antidote to the corruption of the world is the cross of Jesus Christ: “by whom the world has been crucified to (us), and (us) to the world.” (Galatians 6:14).

New Year Celebrations

So, the world is celebrating the beginning of the New Year. Do not join them. The people of the world always celebrate the wrong things. Please do not join them. The New Year is not one of God’s holy days. Neither is Christmas.

Those who believe in Jesus are in the world but not of the world. Unlike the people of the world, our joy is not based on times and seasons. The joy of the Lord is fulfilled in us. (John 17:13). This joy does not depend on situations and circumstances. It is a joy that, according to Jesus, no one can take away from us. (John 16:22).

By being the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus has: “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:4). He gave us: “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that (we) may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3).

For this reason, we no longer have any cause for sorrow. Neither do we rejoice any longer in the vanities and vainglories of this world. Jesus says we should only rejoice: “that (our) names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).

Therefore, it makes no difference that we are alive to see a new year. The person who sees the new year is not better off than the person who died before the new year. Believers who have passed away have gone to be with the Lord. Those of us who remain here are with the Lord:

“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:8-9).

Joy of Salvation

When we celebrate the counterfeit joys of the world with the people of the world, the devil sets us up for the sorrows of the world. The temporal joys of the world distract us from the eternal joy of salvation.

Therefore, when something “good” happens to us, it is deceitful. It is designed to steal from us the joy of salvation. The same goes when something “bad” happens. We must allow nothing to steal our joy of salvation.

The psalmist preaches to himself: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5).

Our hope in God is the firm and secure anchor of the soul. (Hebrews 6:19). This hope: “does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:5).

Therefore, Paul says: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). When we rejoice in the Lord, we can do so always. But when we rejoice in the new year, we can only do so once a year. Our joy is that we are alive to see the day.

This is ungodly. It is as ungodly as celebrating birthdays as they do in the world. To celebrate birthdays is to celebrate foolishly because we are in the flesh and away from the Lord.

But as believers, we have learnt from the Lord Jesus that: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.” (John 6:63). “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,” (Philippians 3:3).

Work of salvation

God spoke the world into existence. He said: “Let there be light,” and there was light. But salvation was a different thing altogether, it is God’s greatest work. God did not just say: “Let there be salvation,” and there was salvation.

To bring about salvation, God had to become a man. He had to come through the womb of a woman. He sucked a woman’s breast. He crawled on the ground and had to learn to walk and talk. He: “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (Luke 2:52).

For our sake, the God of all creation: “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8)

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).

All this shows that our salvation must be superlative and extraordinary. “As it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

Thanksgiving

So, it no longer matters that this world is a place where death and destruction reign. The Bible says: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33). He has made this world irrelevant in the all-important eternal scheme of things. God has: “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:13).

Although we are still physically in the world, spiritually we are now seated with Christ at the right hand of God: “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:21).

Requiem

The Lord sent me to pray for a man dying of cancer. I thought He intended to heal him, but He said the man should rejoice because He was calling him home to Himself.

The man was required to: “Enter into (God’s) gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4).

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