A Fresh Start
Pastor Ben Hiwale
In our lives there are defining moments determining what path we will take. The moment we see the truth brought to light, we run for it, realizing that all we have ever known falls short in comparison. For the world, that moment was when Jesus died on the cross. His death at Calvary closed the chapter on mankind’s separation from God, making a way for all to know Him—and know Him intimately. As the perfect sacrifice for the entire world (John 1:29b), Jesus completely paid the debt (John 19:30) necessary for us to come into relationship with our heavenly Father.
Jesus’ death on the cross changed the way we live and interact with Him today because God judged sin at Calvary. With the world’s sin on Jesus’ shoulders, God showed us how much He abhors sin, letting His Son die. Through Christ’s death, the barrier between God and us has been removed (Colossians 1:21-22), and God gives us a new start through forgiveness. That is how He dealt with Israel of old. Israel suffered for her sin and folly, and went into captivity as a result of her sins. But through Isaiah God spoke a word of comfort to her centered in His word of forgiveness. “‘Comfort, comfort my people,’ says your God. ‘Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her … that her iniquity is pardoned …’” (Isaiah 40:1,2)
As a nation, Israel could make a fresh start only with God’s forgiveness, and God speaks this same word of forgiveness to us. To each one of us, He says: “Your iniquity is pardoned.” His word of comfort to us is in Jesus Christ.
Our sin goes a lot deeper than failure to follow a series of do’s and don’ts. Sin is being altogether in the wrong, altogether heading in the wrong direction away from God, altogether cut off from the Lord God. The forgiveness of sin offers reconciliation for this situation. God opens up the way to us and puts us back on the right track. He makes possible a complete about-turn on our part, so that we can head God-ward, travel in fellowship with Him, and go in the direction He wants us to go. Jesus died to put you right with God and to put you back on the right track. He died so that you could escape the path of death you were walking, and enter with Him on the path of life. His forgiveness makes possible the good news of a fresh start.
The emptiness that we feel challenges something that we assume about ourselves.
As we unpack this Passage we see 4 things:
- Complete Relationship – verse 11
- Complete Transformation – verses 12-13
- Complete Forgiveness – verses 13-14
- Complete Victory – verse 15
So significant was this rite that when Moses neglected to circumcise his child, God threatened to kill Moses!
We must realize that there is nothing more, nothing less and nothing else than Jesus.
The point of circumcision was always intended to point to God’s power in circumcising our hearts.
29 But a Jew is one uinwardly, and vcircumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. wHis praise is not from man but from God.
4 eCircumcise yourselves to the Lord;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
flest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
gbecause of the evil of your deeds
25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised—
New King James Version (NKJV)
Abraham Justified Before Circumcision
9 Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.
16 Circumcise therefore qthe foreskin of your heart, and be no longer rstubborn
6 And pthe Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, qso that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
- I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
Three Matters: The Gospel Is NOT
- A message of moral effort – but radical regeneration
- A message of what we justly deserve – but Jesus went to the Cross
- A message of Social Humanism – but total Victory
How should we respond to all this? Let me suggest five responses to these truths:
No matter where you are, know this:
- We are not unwanted. We are chosen.
- We’re not unworthy—we’re redeemed.
- We’re not unable – we’re empowered.
Today you know:
- Complete Relationship – no longer caught in Religion Complete Transformation – no longer the Same
- Complete Forgiveness – no longer in Debt
- Complete Victory – no longer Defeated