Saturday, December 21, 2013

The God of Another Chance

Have you ever done something that you thought was so terrible that there was NO way God could ever forgive you? Or have you ever felt that you have messed up so many times that there was no way God could forgive you again?

God is not only the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance. This is good news because most of us mess up the second chance fairly quickly. One of the amazing things of God's character is His incredible patience with us. Psalm 86:15 says it well: "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." Micah 7:18 says, "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love."

The New Testament has testimonies of the Lord giving second chances to His people. Consider Simon Peter. Peter bragged that he would never fail Jesus. He said no matter what the other disciples did he would always stand by Jesus.But in spite of his bravado Jesus told him that before the rooster crowed that night Peter would deny him three times. And the Scriptures reveal that Peter did just that, even with cursing as Jesus looked at him. Peter was so gripped with guilt that he went out and weeped bitterly.

But the Lord is the Lord of the second chance. Peter was given opportunity to begin again. John 21 records a seaside encounter Peter had with the resurrected Lord. After a timely breakfast Jesus took Peter aside and plainly asked him three times, “Peter do you love me?” Each time Peter responded in the affirmative. Each time Jesus gave Peter an assignment. He said to Peter, Feed my lambs! Feed my sheep! Feed my sheep! Three times Peter denied Jesus and now Jesus was giving his previously failing disciple three tasks to complete for Him. God is the God of the second chance. Peter could start over with God.

God did not make Peter sit on the pew for years before using him again. Once his relationship was restored, he was a vessel that God could flow through.
Regardless of our mistakes, when we return to God, He once again begins to “work all things together” for our good. While we will suffer the consequences of our misdeeds, God continues to mold us into a beautiful vessel He can use.

When we fail, failure need not be final. We can start over. All we need is to humbly confess and repent of our shortcomings and failings. We can seek the Lord and we can start over again. Scripture shows us that over and over. How many of the “heroes” of the Scriptures had black marks of failure dotting the record of their lives. Consider:
Abraham – He was a lair
Jacob – He was a cheater
Moses – was a murderer
David – was an adulterer and murdered
Peter – denied the Lord three times
Paul – arrested Christians and had them thrown in jail.

And yet history records that these men are among the greatest in the History of God’s kingdom. They failed, but failure was not final. They started over with God and became useful to Him again. So it can be with us today.

So when you think you are too far gone in your sin, remember God is a God of second, third, fourth etc.. chances. There is nothing you can do to make him love you any less. Just ask Him for forgiveness and repent!

"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 3:13-14).