A Year End Editorial

Article by   December 2013
There's something about the close of another year that encourages reflection. Maybe it's only for a moment in an awkward silence among visiting relatives. Maybe it's a day away at the end of a winter's vacation. But all of us engage in--or ought to anyway--some kind of reflection on the previous year's activities.

As Christians, we should celebrate triumphs of God's grace in our personal lives in 2013. We should look and see areas where the Holy Spirit has grown us and matured us. No doubt, we'll see many instances of failure, disobedience, and sin. We should soberly acknowledge such things and let them drive us to new heights of prayer in 2014. But such failures and sins should also drive us right back into the arms of our faithful King Jesus, who never tires of correcting, reworking, and redirecting his wayward subjects. At the end of this and every year, we ought to marvel at the patience of our great triune God. Never once has he lost his temper with us, never once has he spoken harshly, never once has he tired of us seeking him when we fail yet again. Every year is a year of God's matchless grace for those in Christ!

But we should also look beyond ourselves at the end of the year. After all, our lives are bound up with the Story of God's redemptive plan being accomplished in history. So, as Christians, our year-end remembrances are never to be selfish exercises of navel gazing self-condemnation or self-congratulation, but a reminder that Christ is at work in history. This year may have been harder than most to really believe this. In many ways, 2013 was a terrible year for Christians. From persecution in Syria to Egypt to Iran to North Korea, believers have faced torture, death, and exile. These atrocities should to stir us to our depths. And, again, they ought to stir us to prayer for the work of global missions. For, in the midst of these horrors, we also saw more unreached people reached in 2013. The kingdom of Christ continues to be established where it has not been formerly known.

Closer to home, 2013 has been a year in which there has been increasing opposition to Christian morality in the U.S. As the recent "Duck Dynasty" controversy has shown, any disapproval of homosexuality is seen not simply as wrong, but dangerous. The distinction is important; the former simply means the person holding the wrong opinion can be safely ignored, while the person who holds the dangerous opinion must be silenced. The culture around us is more willing to classify dissent to the homosexual agenda as dangerous. This should cause Christians alarm while at the same time renewing our willingness to thoughtfully and clearly refute the arguments of those who oppose Christian morality.

However, we can always end on a note of hope as we look forward to another year. Jesus will win more of his enemies to himself. Christians will continue to preach, teach, and witness the gospel of Christ to the nations. And here at ref21 we will continue to do our small part to engage the culture from a Reformed standpoint. Pray for us and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals in 2014!

Your editors in the service of Christ,
Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas
Rev. Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer

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