As we start a new year, let’s consider the biblical message of newness. Human religions call people to focus on maintaining the traditions and practices of the past. Some Christian denominations have done the same, but the Bible calls for newness.
“Kainos,” the Greek word for “new,” is used extensively in the New Testament. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says this about “kainos”:
“…denotes new, of that which is unaccustomed or unused, not new in time, recent, but new in form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old … new covenant, new commandment … new character … new name … new life of the quickened spirit of the believer … impossible to dissociate this from the operation of the Holy Spirit by whose power the service is rendered.”
The biblical message of newness carries throughout the New Testament. In Luke 5:36, Jesus says, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have a torn garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.” Likewise, you can’t take old lifestyles and patch them into being a Christian. Colossians 3:10 tells us to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.” Hebrews 10:19-20 talks about a “new and living way” opened to us by the blood of Christ. Galatians 6:15 calls Christians “a new creation.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 talks about “being made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” In 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, we read, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come. All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
The biblical message of newness continues to the end of the New Testament. Revelation 21:1-4 describes a new heaven and new earth where God says, “I am making everything new.”
We don’t change by our own power, and New Year’s Resolutions don’t work because they depend on us. However, becoming a Christian and opening yourself to God does work. God isn’t going to force people to accept Jesus Christ, but for those who do, He offers newness. If you haven’t opened yourself to being made “kainos,” isn’t it time to do so?
— John N. Clayton © 2022