For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nothing Can Separate Us From God
It’s a new year. The old has gone; the new has come. Or has it?
Don’t we tend to drag all our old worries and fears and problems into the new year with us? And then we look ahead and wonder—and perhaps even fear—what the new year will bring, whether joy or sorrow, blessing or trouble, sickness or health.
The beginning of a new year can be exciting and fresh. It can also be daunting and depressing as we realize the things we should have said, should have accomplished, or, on the other hand, those things that we should not have said or done.
The new year gives a time for pause and reflection. A good way for us to reflect is to use God’s own Word as a mirror, to show us ourselves as we look according to God’s Law.
The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods.
Where has your trust been this last year? Where will it be in the coming year?
The Second Commandment
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
How have you used God’s name this past year? How can you use it appropriately in the coming year?
The Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
This commandment is about the Word of God. What part has the Word of God played in your life this past year? Have you despised preaching? Have you regularly and diligently studied the Word? What about in the coming year?
The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother.
We all have or have had parents. We are all subject to a variety of authorities. This commandment applies to us all, not only to the children among us. What has your relationship with parents and authorities been like this year? How might it change in the year ahead?
The Fifth Commandment
You shall not murder.
This seems like such an easy commandment to keep, that is, until we understand it in its fullness as Luther expounds it in his explanation. Then we find that it’s not so easy. Whom have you hurt or harmed? Whom have you failed to help? Will this change in the new year?
The Sixth Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.
Again, this one seems pretty easy, but then we hear what Jesus tells us: “I say to you that everyone who looks at a women with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:28). This commandment has to do also with our thoughts and words and not only our actions. Our lives and hearts are to be pure and decent. How have you broken this commandment this year, and what can you do differently in the year ahead?
The Seventh Commandment
You shall not steal.
Like the fifth and sixth commandments, this is bigger than it seems. Most of us don’t outright steal things. But the explanation helps us see our guilt here as well. Read again the explanation and examine yourself. What have you done or not done? What will you do or not do?
The Eighth Commandment
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
This commandment does not apply just in court. Instead, it applies to every moment of every day. We have so many opportunities to tear down or to build up the people in our lives.
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments are both about coveting. We’ll take them together.
The Ninth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
The Tenth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Coveting. What a challenge this is in our lives. Always wanting more than God has given. Always desiring that which belongs to another.
When we go through the Ten Commandments – and we should, regularly – we see that our sins separate us from God!
We are lost! Looking back on 2017 through the Ten Commandments we find that we are truly separate from God, truly sinful and that we need to confess these sins to God our heavenly Father.
But here’s the Good News! Here’s the Gospel!
Nothing, not even our sin when it’s acknowledged and confessed, can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As St. Paul says, God gave up his Son for us all.
Jesus was born to be our substitute. He lived a perfect life. He died and rose again. He has ascended and is now interceding at his Father’s right hand.
This is where our life comes from! The forgiveness that comes through Jesus alone!
Now we are more than conquerors.
God Is for Us!
In this way, we can enter the new year, not dragging our burdens of sin with us, but free and able through him who gives us strength.
Heavenly Father, we commit to your mercy and forgiveness the year now past and commend to your blessing and love the times yet to come. In the new year, abide among us with your Holy Spirit that we may always trust in the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his name. Amen.
© 2018 True Men Ministries