Views from the Pews: All of us can make a fresh start

Peter Robinson outside Whtiby Evangelical Church on Flowergate.
Peter Robinson outside Whtiby Evangelical Church on Flowergate.

Peter Robinson

For some this new start means New Year’s resolutions with the promise of better things to come. Perhaps we are determined to stop smoking this year, or loose weight, get fitter or simply be a better person.

Good intentions will only get us so far down the road to a new start. Sadly, as experience teaches us, our resolutions run out of steam all too quickly. The gym membership, slimmers club and nicotine gum last all of a week for most of us. The really determined can even stretch it out for the whole of January.

Inevitably we loose momentum. If that’s what we can expect then we might as well not bother at all. Why set yourself up for a fall? Isn’t it better not to try in the first place? At least you won’t feel like a failure as well as overweight, unfit and with a 20 a day habit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can enjoy a fresh beginning that does last the whole year through and beyond. And it doesn’t rely upon our will power or resolution. That’s because this change comes from someone else.

When Jesus came into the world everything changed. Not just our calendar, but those he met.

There were the obvious changes that everyone could witness; the blind received their sight, the disabled walked, even the dead were raised to life. But there were also the other transformations, those less obvious to onlookers. The thieving tax collector became the generous giver, the violent fanatic made way for a the missionary preacher, and the cowardly boaster was the brave martyr.

How did Jesus change these people and thousands like them? The same way that he transforms millions of lives today.

You’ve heard of the born again biker? The sort of person who visits Whitby on a Thursday evening in the summer? Jesus coined the phrase born again to describe what it means to become a Christian. It is the fresh start we are all looking for.

Jesus Christ was born, died and rose again to achieve new life for everyone who will come to him and be changed. We can’t do it ourselves by being more religious, turning over a new leaf or bettering ourselves. It is a miracle that only Christ can accomplish.

When we turn over to him our failures and faults and receive his forgiveness and resurrection strength, then we are transformed. We become children of God, new creations, born again believers.

May the Bible’s description in 2Corinthians 5:17 be true of you in 2016; “If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”