Saturday, March 14, 2009

God is Not a God of Second Chances!

Over the years, many well-meaning people have spoken about how God is a God of second chances. "If you mess up," they say, "God will give you a second chance to get it right." They might talk about Jonah, and how he ran from God and then was given a "second chance" to do what He originally told him to do. Various interpretations of that story notwithstanding, the God who is revealed to us in Christ and the New Covenant is not a God of second chances!

First of all, do you think He thought we'd get it right the first time? Many would agree that He knew we wouldn't get it right the first time. So then do you really think He thought if He gave us a second chance, we'd then get it right? What if that didn't work out so well? How about a third chance? Or a fourth or fifth chance? A one hundredth chance? Is God's mercy and grace a matter of a billion chances? Does God think that eventually we will get it right?

The good news is that God didn't even give us that first chance to get it right! Whether we're talking about salvation or whether we're talking about the daily living out of our faith, it's not a matter of God giving us a certain number of chances to get it right. It's not about Him giving us "do-overs" when we've messed up. He doesn't say, "try again."

He's not looking at our efforts to get it right! It's all about His grace and His life working in and through us. He doesn't give us second chances. He takes away all our chances and gives us His very life instead! To repeat, in Christ God hasn't given us a second chance to get things right. Instead, He's deleted any and all possibilities of giving us the chance to get things right. He's replaced "I'll give you X amount of chances to get it right" with "I got it right for you!"

When we've messed up, and fallen short of living out a perfect life of faith, God doesn't say, "Ok, I'll give you another chance... Get back up and try again." Rather it's a matter of us denying any sense of us trying to get it right, and instead simply resting in His grace and in His very life that we have entered into, where all the work has already been done! Don't kid yourself about needing a new chance to begin again. You are His workmanship, not your own!

10 comments:

  1. Never looked at it that way before but you're so right.

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  2. Well said. His provision of new life through Christ was based on His good intentions toward us - He wasn't about to risk it all on chance! Ours is not to try, try again - ours is but to abide in Him and His life-changing love!

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  3. Hi Joanna,

    Thanks for your comment. It had taken me quite some time to come to this realization, but when all the pieces finally came together, I could simply no longer look at things in the same way anymore!

    Toby,

    Yep indeed... to think that God is relying on us to get it right! You said it well, ours is to abide in Him and His love.

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  4. Well said!! :D

    God has ALWAYS had a One Man plan...and we are SO NOT THAT MAN! Christ was and is!

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  5. Right on Jamie! But oh how so many people try to be that man. :( Let's let Him do His job, and us rest in it! :)

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  6. Great post, Joel! I have heard it so many times that God is a God of second chances. But you raised some fundamental questions and I agree with you. The thinking behind "God is a God of second chances" itself is from a performance mentality... hmmmm

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  7. Bino, you said it well... The thinking behind "God is a God of second chances" comes from the idea that God is expecting that we can achieve a certain level of performance through our own efforts.

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  8. I love these things. Am so blessed to meet like minded christians. wow!. I think many of our pastors dwell too much in the old testament ways of God's relationship with man and forget the new covenant's finished work of Christ. That sin is no longer an issue.

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  9. Joel,

    Really well put! Thanks.

    Terry

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