The beginning of a new school year was always one of my favorite times. There was something exciting about seeing unopened textbooks and knowing that by the end of the year, I would have a thorough understanding of that new subject, or at least evidence that I gave it my best effort. It was a time of new beginnings, regardless of last year’s results.

I feel the same way about New Year’s resolutions. The idea of starting over toward a new goal encourages me to persist in improving some skill, tackle some sin which has been plaguing me with temptation, or sharpen my commitment to daily Bible reading, even if I don’t make it all the way through the year. The idea that I can still have a fresh start again next January is comforting.

Thankfully, God meets us on a much more abbreviated timeline. Sometimes I can hardly make it through the day in keeping the promises I committed to in my morning prayers. But God’s mercies are new each morning. It does not matter if it is a repeat sin, a failed attempt to do better in my walk with Christ, or simply that the “the flesh is weak.” The Lord extends mercy to us daily when we fall. He also abundantly pardons us. Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

Most of us have read the definition of grace as God’s favor. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. It is God’s grace that He sent us his Son to pay the price for our sins. God is also merciful. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. We deserve God’s wrath for our persistent wickedness. But God is merciful, not condemning repentant believers, forgiving our sins, and opening the door to His presence. Each day is a new opportunity to walk by faith in the truth of God’s mercies. Slow to anger, God patiently gives us time for repentance and restoration. Psalm 145:8 offers this comfort: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” The prophet Jeremiah, after learning of God’s judgment on Jerusalem, found comfort in God’s mercy. In Lamentations 3:21-23, he says, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

The promise of a new beginning is such comfort. God multiplies His mercy to us, by not rewarding us according to our sins, but according to His great mercy. What blessing! And having received God’s mercy we are also given full pardon. He forgives our rebellion and sins of habit. We are given a new beginning with every sincere repentance.

In the book, Living by God’s Promises, the authors make the case for our assurance that God will forgive all our sins and is just in doing so. “Knowing our doubts about whether God will forgive our sin, especially when sin has long hindered us, our Lord adds His righteousness and faithfulness to our pardon. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That means God is just in forgiving our sin. While sin transgresses the law of God and therefore incurs guilt before Him, which He cannot overlook, God imputed the sin of we who are united to Christ by saving faith to Him upon the cross, where He paid the full price God’s law demanded of them. Therefore, God can justly forgive and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Oh, that we would grasp the comfort of that promise!”[1]

We do not have to wait until a semester is over, or until it is New Year’s Day, or until a Sabbath day to seek a new beginning. God promises complete forgiveness to the repentant believer as soon as he asks.

Thank you, Lord, for your abundant grace and for your mercies which are new every morning. Thank you that I can have a fresh start each time I repent, even repeat offences. You are a great God, full of mercy and love for your people.

[1] Beeke, Joel R, and James La Belle. Living by God’s Promises. Reformation Heritage Books, 2010, p. 105.

Photo by Alexa Williams on Unsplash

Sharon Rockwell

Sharon retired from her career first as a chemist and then as a regulatory affairs consultant to the medical device industry. She has served on the women’s ministry team at Grace Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Yorba Linda, California, and has worked as the west coast regional advisor for the PCA. She and her husband have 4 adult children, and 6 young grandchildren (current score girls 4, boys 2). In her spare time Sharon enjoys cooking, traveling, bird watching and raising orchids.