At some point in life we all need a fresh start. The beginning of a new year reminds me of that. If only we could all go back and avoid making those mistakes that seem to haunt us today. If only.
The fact is, it is our mistakes that make us human. Since the beginning of history people have been making mistakes. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman God created, made such a big mistake that the consequences still affect us today (see the first book of the Bible, Genesis).
God told them they could do almost anything except eat from a particular tree in the garden. You guessed it, they chose to deliberately eat from that tree and with it came the curse of death, something that had not existed before their big mistake. They were so ashamed of themselves they hid from God.
I think sometimes we all try to hide from God, ashamed of the wrong things we have done, hoping He won't notice. Yet God knows everything you've done and everything you have ever thought. Every lie, every hateful or jealous thought and every curse word you have ever said... He knows!
These things go against what God has outlined as good in the Bible and are therefore recorded for the day of judgement when you die. The Bible says in Revelation 20 that God will open up that book about your life and examine every wrong thing you have ever done against God. From birth to death, what is going to be read out?
I don't know about you but I would feel very ashamed to sit and listen to that record of wrongs in front of the biggest audience the world has ever seen – people throughout history plus all the angelic beings.
To secure a place in God's perfect heaven that record book needs to be completely blank. How many people do you know who have lived a perfect life without one wrong move? No one I can think of!
That is where Jesus Christ comes in. He was the only person in the entire history of the world who lived a perfect life and has a clean record. Why is He so important to the Christian message? Because His death (in place of the punishment we deserved) and resurrection (proof of His authority and power over death) has legally opened the way for us to swap our filled-up, dirty and embarrassing record book for His perfect blank one.
He can do that for anyone who gives up living life their own way and accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour – no matter who you are or what you have done.
In the Bible's book of 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 10 it says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due to us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad". Despite our bad record (and we all have one) it says later in verse 17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
What this verse is saying is that those who surrender their dirty old record books to Jesus by asking for His forgiveness and making a decision to live for and to please God rather than themselves, receive a brand new start – a clean record book. In fact God says they are a completely new person!
With Jesus in your life, when it comes to the day of judgement the angels will open up a blank record and there will be nothing to read out because your mistakes and wrongs have been accounted for through Jesus' death in your place.
So what are you waiting for? Give Jesus all your hurt, guilt and mistakes that have accumulated over the years and accept His free gift of a fresh start and a clean record that cannot be taken away from you.