Read The New Testament in 2023
The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the past, assess where you are on your spiritual journey, and commit to taking the next step. What better way is there to do this than by committing to read the New Testament with The Orchard in 2023? Reading God’s Word is the primary means of grace that God has given to us for transformation and growth.
The Grace of God Saves Us
God’s grace is an amazing gift. The grace of God saves us from the power of sin and death. It doesn't let our past define us or weigh us down; instead, it provides the means for transformation and empowers us to make the progress we need. When we read the Bible, we get to know God and understand more about his grace. As we journey through the New Testament together, we will see how Christ's saving grace is still alive and at work in our lives today.
The Grace of God Transforms Us
In addition to saving us, God uses his word to transform us. As we linger over each passage, we'll have time to meditate on its meaning and reflect on how it applies to our own lives today. This can help equip us as individuals but also as part of a larger community—helping all of us become better-equipped followers of Christ who live out his teachings. Look at Psalm 19:7-9:
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7–9, ESV)
- The word revives our souls (v. 7).
- Makes us wise (v. 7).
- Gives us joy (v. 8).
- Provides us clarity (v. 8).
- Helps us be pure (v. 9).
- Helps us be godly (v. 9).
The Grace of God Fuels Progress
As we continue on our journey of faith, God's enabling, empowering, sustaining grace provides us with the power and the means necessary for progress. It is through Him that we have the strength to face the challenges which come our way, but it takes effort on our part. Following Jesus is not just an idea or philosophy; it is action, and it requires hard work. Paul spoke about grace-based efforts to the Corinthian churches when he wrote,
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, ESV)
D. A. Carson phrased it like this, “People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer and obedience to Scripture, faith and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith; we cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”
Reading the New Testament with The Orchard in 2023 is an excellent way to honor God and take the next step on your journey of faith. This week, reflect on what He has done for you, assess where you are currently, and commit to taking the next step. He will be right there beside you every step of the way, providing strength, courage, guidance, and empowerment. Check back each day this week as we prepare to read the New Testament together in 2023. The reading plan begins January 2nd, so pray, plan, and mark your calendars.
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