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Faith: Ring out the Old, Ring in the New

Len Browning

I remember it hearing frequently when growing up, a colloquialism I thought to be contemporary and only learned recently of its late-1800s debut. The phrase “ring out the old and ring in the new” – oft said around New Year’s Eve in my day — is actually part of a stanza from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ring out Wild Bells.

What strikes me now is the connection to Christ and Christianity found in the lines.

Ring out the old, ring in the new is actually a Christian concept, one found replete in the New Testament of our Bible.



Romans 7:5-6: For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.



2 Corinthians 5:17-18: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…

Colossians 3:8-10: But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

The final stanza of Lord Tennyson’s aforementioned poem summarizes what has gone before in the preceding verses. Everything bad about the past must be discarded, and the poet hopes for a future in which life is lived in accordance with true Christian values. This can only happen when Christ is Lord.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be

We can only experience this old to new reality when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Human effort cannot produce true righteousness. Our old to new experience can be a transfer from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son whom the Father loves, a transformation from an enemy of God to a friend of His, in Jesus we become a true child of God – when we are born-again.

Ephesians 2:8-10: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship (his poem), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Happy New Year!


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