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  • Mark Clary

New Year Resolutions

Year after year the New Year's resolution for most people centers on losing weight and exercising more. However, year after year this same resolution is broken, as most people do not have the stamina to deny themselves in lieu of gratifying the god of their belly. This has resulted in numerous physical,spiritual, and mental issues; hence why 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. We would rather take a pill to instantly solve our physical and mental maladies rather than deny ourselves.

I am going to quote verbatim Thomas Hooker, a great puritan preacher back in the early 1600's. What Thomas Hooker says would be a wise New Year's resolution for all of us. Today's gospel message presents Christ first, without any conviction of sin or true brokenness of heart. The Holy Spirit is non-existent to most in the church and deemed unnecessary to be born again and truly saved. The church wants all the goodies God has to offer without any true contrition and humility for sin and preparedness to receive such a great gift.

“Contrition loosens a man from his sin, makes him see an absolute necessity to be another man, or else he is a damned man. Humiliation loosens a man from himself, makes him see an utter insufficiency in what he hath or doth, for to procure the least spiritual relief unto his soul...such as are of necessity required, that the heart may be fitted for the impression of faith, and by it for the entertainment of the Lord Christ.”

“What! Senseless of his sin! How fearful is his estate! Where there is no sense, there can be no sorrow, no repentance, therefore no Christ, nor pardon, nor salvation...never broken, God will never bind.”

“If sinners love Christ merely for his favors, then nothing can induce them to love him for anything else. No motives of temporal or spiritual good have the least tendency to alter the nature of their love, but only to increase it...Many preachers of the gospel seem to imagine that the hard selfish hearts of sinners may be melted into true love and contrition, by displaying before them the beauties of holiness, the loveliness of Christ, and the joys of heaven; but though these motives may awaken their selfish love, and gratitude, and penitence, yet they will not excite a spark of holy love, or joy, or godly sorrow. There is nothing in God, nor Christ, nor heaven, that sinners will love more than themselves. They lie beyond the reach of all objective light, or external motives. Paul may plant and Apollos water, without making any saving impressions upon their hearts. Though their love and joy may be raised ever so high by mercenary motives, still their hearts will remain totally selfish and impenitent.”

“You were never broken-hearted here for your abominations, know assuredly that you will burn for them one day; your proud hearts were never abased, and laid in the dust, the Lord will ruin both you and them. Never expect a good look from God, set your heart at rest for that, you may draw the eyes of others after you, make many of your deluded followers and favorites to look upon you, but the Lord will not come near, nor once cast a loving look towards you.”

As we enter 2024 let us all be sensible of who God is and who we are. Are you sensible of sin and the negative side effects in your life? Are you burdened with sin to the point you hate it and loathe yourself for doing or thinking it? Are you willing to deny yourself in any area of your life that causes you problems? Are you denying the god of your belly? Is the prize of eternal life worth pursuing and earnestly seeking no matter the cost to you? Do you fear the wrath of God and hell? If you answered no to any of these questions, then you need to beg for mercy and ask for a humble and contrite heart.

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