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A New Beginning

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The Scriptures often speak of a fresh start or new beginning. We are reminded of this at the onset of earth’s history, for “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The apostle John uses similar language with regard the role of Christ in all of this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God
And the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning
Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)1

The centrality of Christ in all of this is communicated to the Colossian Christians by the apostle Paul saying, “All things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16; cf. Rev. 1:6; 22:13).

Many other texts likewise speak of some kind of beginning. For example, John the Baptist warned of that which was soon to happen (Luke 3: 4-7) and the apostle Peter warned, “The end of all things is near” (1 Pet. 4:7) and “It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet. 4:17).

Not to be overlooked also are those passages that speak of the beginning and the end. For example, consider the warning of the Lord to Samuel with regard to Israel and especially to Eli’s family: “I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end” (1 Sam. 3:12). In all of the above passages we are reminded that ultimately God is in control of all things;

I am God, and there is no other:
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning. (Isa. 46:9-10a).

Of particular interest are the poetic texts which speak of something beginning. The 102nd Psalm declares that just as was communicated in the first book of the Bible (Genesis 1:1), “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hand” (Ps. 102:25). Of interest also are those texts which speak of the true source of man’s knowledge. Solomon remarks, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Walke remarks, “Wisdom consists in transcending the fallen human world and participating in the divine, the holy.”2 Ultimately, then, a reverential trust in the Lord is the source of human wisdom.

Similarly, the psalmist concludes his remarks by saying,

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:
All who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise. (Ps. 111:10)

Alexander observes, “All God’s dealings with his people are in faithfulness and truth, and his commands not only are but must be right, then the first step in wisdom, its first principle or element, is reverence for such a Being, proved by obedience to his will.”3 As previously noted, true knowledge is centered in a proper reverence for the Lord. If one wishes to have true wisdom, he begins with seeking the Lord’s counsel. Earlier the author of Proverbs (Solomon) has established the fact that gaining insight into real knowledge begins with the Lord: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Pro. 1:7). In context the emphasis here is that the foundation of true wisdom is the fear of God, or as McKane states “Without this basic reverence for Yahweh and submission to him, there can be no acquisition of wisdom”.4

Supplemental to, yet in accordance with, the above truths is the fact that with godly wisdom a Christian can and should live out his life, from beginning to end. Human wisdom has its source in the Lord, who has arranged one’s salvation (2 Thess. 2:13). In accordance with His grace, God chose believers long before earthly time began. As Paul says to Timothy:

Grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 1:9-10)

Therefore, believers are to live a holy life throughout their lives on earth.

Complimentary to Paul’s remarks in 2 Timothy are his words in Titus 1:2 that true faith and knowledge rest on the “hope of eternal life which God . . . promised before the beginning of time.” As Christ’s followers, believers should . . . be faithful in all things, even in such matters as the course of their daily tasks and contacts. This should be the constant, consistent goal and desire throughout their lives. … Moreover faithfulness to God should be a burning desire in the believer’s heart.5

What could be a better new beginning for each of us in this new year (2018) than to have surrendered our lives to God’s will and consistently live out our lives in full dedication to the Lord? May each of us do so with our whole hearts and desires! In so doing we follow Christ’s own earthly example. As the hymn writer expresses it:

Once I was lost in sin’s degradation,
Jesus came down to bring me salvation,
Lifted me up from sorrow and shame –
Now I belong to Him!6

1 All Scriptural citations are taken from the New International Version.

2 Bruce K. Walke, The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 442.

3 Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary on Psalms, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991), 471.

4 William McKane, Proverbs: A New Approach (Philadelphia, Westminister, nd), 264.

5 Richard D. Patterson, “Faithful to the End”, Bible.Org, 2004, p12-13.

6 Norman J. Clayton, “Now I Belong to Jesus”.

Related Topics: New Year's

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