05 January 2012

To Start the Year...

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25
Heavenly Father, O that we may live the bulk of the next twelve months believing this little benediction from Jude. While many spend great energy “claiming” more blessings from you, may this be a year in which we simply come alive to the multiplied blessings you’ve already lavished upon us in the gospel. Already you have rescued us from the dominion of darkness and have placed us in the kingdom of your beloved Son, Jesus (Col. 1:13). Already you have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

Already we are completely loved by you because of Jesus’ completed work on our behalf. As the year progresses, open the eyes of our hearts to see all these glorious riches more clearly and enjoy them more fully (Eph. 1:18-19).

All year long you’ll prove your covenant and capacity to keep us from falling. Though we may falter in the journey, the grasp of your grace is steady and secure. When we waver in our adoration of you, you will remain constant in your affection for us. When we are faithless and disobedient, you will remain committed and fully engaged with us. Even when you must discipline us this year, it will be in love, never in disgust or regret that you have adopted us (Heb. 12:7-12). We praise you for being the perfect Father to your daughters and sons.

All year long you’ll be at work preparing us for the day when we come into your glorious presence. We’re confident and grateful as we face that day, because you have promised to complete the good work of the gospel you’ve begun in us (Phil. 1:6). Indeed, Father, if this should be the year in which you call me “home,” herein lays my humble confidence: I will stand before you without fault because you’ve placed me in the faultless Righteous One, Jesus.

Our hope is built on nothing less, nothing more, and nothing other than Jesus’ blood and his righteousness. Jesus is the only reason we can be sure we’ll stand before you with great joy. But you won’t just give us joy in that day; you give us joy in this day as well, for your joy is our strength (Neh. 8:10). Because of your great delight in us, we find great delight in you. Because you rejoice over us with singing, we will sing the new song of the gospel forever (Zeph. 3:14-17). What a gospel by which to live this year… what confidence and hope, joy and peace you have given us in Jesus!

Gracious Father, you are the only God, the only Savior—to you “be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!” (Jude 25). So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and matchless. - Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith blogs at the Gospel Coalition website here.

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