As we pass from 2018 into 2019, it is appropriate to look back and forward.  2018 has been a year of revelations. We have seen just how deep political convictions can be and the lengths to which people will go to achieve their desired ends. Such dark revelations have been countered by visions of light: we have been reminded that God ultimately is in control. He has accorded free will to mankind, but man will not prevent the King from exercising His power to break into our lives, bringing grace and truth.

This is an age of division and the divisions are going to get worse. The darkness will get darker and the light brighter. 2018 battered us with its hurdles and tensions. The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh seemed doubtful and the mid-term elections seemed to threaten a “blue wave” that would empower the Democrats to impeach the President. But Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed and the Republicans kept control of the Senate.

Looking forward, we are confronted with the challenge of realising a vision. All the contributors and readers here know that God’s Kingdom is beyond the politics of man. Votes that we may cast for the Republican or Conservative parties are not cast with the frenzied adulation that characterises the cult of personality. No, we cast such votes because we deem that, at the time (and this is an important qualification), these parties are the best means in our democratic systems to safeguard our God-given liberties.

The Gospel would continue if we found ourselves under the kind of tyrannies that characterise other parts of the world. Indeed, this year has been a great year for evangelism in countries such as Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and Syria, and 2019 promises a continued ingathering of God’s Elect as evils of the spiritual and human worlds are exposed by the Spirit of God.

Let 2019 be the year of Transformation, a year in which God transforms His Church and the Church, in reliance on God, transforms the world. God promised that He would empower His Church before the great and terrible Day of the LORD. That Day draws nearer, and the stark choice it places before all of us becomes clearer. On the one hand, we hear the voices of death, calling for the destruction of the nations, of liberty, of faith in Christ, of Israel. On the other, we hear the call of faithfulness and hope in the redemptive and transformative power of God.

If the verse for 2018 was, “Rule in the midst of your enemies”, let the verse for 2019 be, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Let 2019 be a year of transformation as we prepare for the coming of Christ. A blessed new year to you all.