New Year or New Mercies
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22, ESV)
New Years is one of the most fascinating times of the year in regards to the human heart. We all anxiously look forward to a new beginning. It’s a time we believe we are allowed to put off the old mistakes and failures of last year and set new goals for the New Year.
In our minds, we fool ourselves into believing that somewhere between the 31st of December and the 1st of January, our failures, mistakes, and sins have been atoned for. “We have this strange illusion”, C.S. Lewis writes, “that mere time cancels sin.”
This has profound implications on how we deal with our sin and failures through the rest of the year. Instead of turning to the Lord for forgiveness and mercy, we wait and wallow in our failures. Bitterness lingers. Sexual immorality lingers. Pride lingers. Greed lingers. In Lamentations 3:22-24, the prophet Jeremiah poetically praises the Lord for his love and faithfulness, though Israel is being judged for their sins. He completely acknowledges that their punishment is a direct result of their faithlessness, all the while conceding that the Lord is still faithful.
The time stamp phrases are key. Jeremiah writes “never ceases” and “never come to an end” and “new every morning.” What is he getting at? First, the Lord’s love and mercy are free, available, and eternal. There is no expiration date. He continually offers them to his children.
Second, though they “never cease” and “never come to an end,” not only are they durable, but they remain new and fresh. He writes, “They are new every morning.” “These rivers of mercy,” Matthew Henry writes, “run fully and constantly, but never run dry. No, they are new every morning. Every morning we have fresh instances of God’s compassion towards us. He visits us with them every morning.” Therefore, this must shape how we approach God in regards to our sin and failures.
Live this year in light of the reality that, for those of us in Christ, we are recipients of new mercies. We are not like those with false hope in seasons and superstitions. We don’t have to depend on the illusion of the false savior called “time.” We have no need to let unrepentant sin linger while we depend on our forgetfulness to clear our consciences. Eternal mercies are fresh and always available for the body of Christ. Therefore, our conclusion is that of Jeremiah’s, “Great is your faithfulness.”
The faithfulness of God to sinful man was put on display when God sent our Lord to live a perfect life and die for our sins. No greater love has been displayed than this. When we are faithless, as was the case with Israel, he remains faithful. Instead of waiting for a New Year, receive his new mercies by running daily to the only one who is able to atone for our sins.