We Enter the New Year
New Year’s Eve December 31, 2018
31 … If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the Name of Jesus.
We look forward to the New Year, and we know that there will be tribulation and distress. Tribulation in our world, in areas of war, in trade relations, in our economy, within our society, and we are given to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We look to the New Year knowing there will be distress. Distress at workplace, in our families, among our friends with news of sickness or other threats, and we are given to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We look to the New Year and we know that the Church will be persecuted. Brothers and sisters persecuted and killed by the Muslims in large parts of the world, brothers and sisters persecuted by tyrannical governments, the church in our own society marginalized and persecuted for holding to the Lord’s gifts such as marriage and the sanctity of life, not to mention the preaching of the Gospel, and we are given to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”—not a resignation to something we can’t do anything about anyway, not as despair or, worse, cynicism, but as a confident declaration of knowing who we are in Jesus Christ.
In Jesus Christ, we are those for whom Christ is at the right hand of the Father making intercession.
In Jesus Christ, we are those who belong to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. So that, nothing, neither death nor life, nor angels, nor the principalities of the demons, nor anything in our present world nor in the world to come, will separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So we enter the New Year with this confidence, that, If God is for us, who can be against us? For he who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, freely gives to us all things of life into eternity. And this is because we are given the confidence that Christ Jesus has justified us with his own blood, and nothing, then, can bring a charge against God’s elect.
So we enter the New Year looking at our world, and praying for her. Praying that where there is violence, where the innocent are treated wrongly, where the child, including the child in the womb is not protected, there would be peace, safety, and good order.
We enter the New Year looking at our family and friends, praying for them. Praying that where there is any distress, any sickness or threat, the Lord would deliver according to his will, and that he would always keep our friends and loved ones in the eternal promise of Baptism.
We enter the New Year looking at the Church, praying for all our brothers and sisters. In this prayer giving thanks that the Lord has gathered them his Name, and praying that where there is persecution or threat, the Lord would deliver according to his will, but that he would always keep our fellow members of the Body of Christ in his promise of eternal care.
And we pray for those who do violence, those who persecute, those who misuse their earthly offices to promote destructive or tyrannical doctrines, that they would receive earthly justice for their evil, but even more so, that they would hear the Gospel of all sins forgiven in Christ Jesus and they, too, be gathered into the fellowship of the Church.
We enter the New Year with confidence that God is for us, who can be against us? And that nothing will separate us from the love of God which is ours in Christ Jesus. And in this confidence, we commend ourselves, our brothers and sisters in the Church, our families, our neighbor, and all to the Lord who is at the right hand of the Father and who makes intercession for us.
In the Name of Jesus.