With the passing of Christmas and the new year, I believe the holiday season certainly leads to an inevitable increase in religion. Whether it is going to church on Christmas and having to face the question of why Jesus came, or coming up with a new years resolution to be a better person, the combination of Christmas and new years brings with it an occasion for renovation. But, how much of this actually has to do with Jesus?
What I mean is this: It is common for people to think that Jesus primarily came to conveniently make our lives better by improving our behavior and making us 'nice' people. For many of us, our new years 'resolutions' will probably follow this pattern as well. They will be aimed at trying harder to be a better person. For the typical church goer, Christianity primarily equals moral renovation. Therefore, Christmas and new years becomes just another attempt at trying to re-prioritize our lives. However, the Bible tells us that what we need is not a moral renovation, but a mortal resurrection. We don't need to re-prioritize our lives, we need to be spiritually brought from death to life. So I ask this, is your Christmas or new years resolution aimed at some form of moral improvement, or is it aimed at mortal resurrection? Jesus didn't come to merely improve our behavior, or make us look better on the outside. Jesus came to give us completely new life.
We far too often think of Jesus as a docile 'Dr. Phil' or 'Oprah' character who is safe, comfortable, convenient, and doesn't want to cause any real change. This couldn't be further from the truth. Jesus comes to us and tells us that we are dead, and the only way to be brought to life is through him. Listen to these words Jesus speaks to the Pharisees. Keep in mind, the Pharisees were the most moral, religious people of their day. They followed all the rules. They were the kind of people who, if they made new years resolutions, would keep them perfectly. Yet, Jesus says they are dead.
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs,
which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead peoples bones and all uncleanness.
So you outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness"
We can re-prioritize our lives and can strive for moral renovation all we want. Without the mortal resurrection that Christ gives, we, like the Pharisees are 'whitewashed tombs'. We are dead, and Jesus calls us to a radical new life by putting our faith in him. How many of us are trying to improve ourselves by being a good, religious, moral person. It's like spraying cologne on a corpse. We are dead, hopeless, helpless, and are in need of completely new life. This life is found in Christ alone.