Jonah. Moses. Peter. Thomas. David. All received second chances.
Last week, we saw that most Americans (84%) believe that God offers second chances. Among Christians, the percentage is higher, and in some sub-groups is nearly 100%.
But when you drill farther down into why people think God gives second chances, the research shows widely varied answers. Some of the answers do not seem to be biblical.
Some respondents indicated that God would give a second chance if the person did good enough. Others said “if a person makes restitution,” while still others said God would extend a second chance if an offending person “promises not to make the same mistake.” A few said a person would have to endure some kind of punishment first, while still more said God would give a second chance if a person depends only on God.
In all, some 44 percent of respondents believe God’s offering of a second chance depends on some kind of human action. This does not seem to rely at all upon God’s grace. This view expects a person to be victorious in gaining God’s favor, and is not dependent upon His divine blessing. This does not negate the possibility of receiving a second chance according to God’s will, but we should not live as if second chances are automatic or dependent upon ourselves.
In a new small group study from Bible Studies for Life, Ben Mandrell takes us through the Book of Romans, showing us that the apostle Paul argued persuasively that Jesus Christ alone can cancel a person’s past. Through the blood of Jesus, new mercies are available each and every day.
The problem with trusting in one’s self to gain a second chance from God is that we cannot trust ourselves to get it right. Perhaps we should remember how often we do not fulfill the commitments we make the first time. How many times do we beat ourselves up over our mistakes? Why put extra pressure on ourselves to fix things? We shouldn’t.
God is gracious in His dealings with us, and, like all His works, a second chance is an act of grace. We may get a chance to get it right, but it is not dependent on our ability to get it right. It is completely unearned and undeserved.
The most scriptural response to a failure is to ask God to intervene to accomplish His will. Sometimes that will include us, and sometimes it may not. But God’s glory is more important than any second chance we may ever get.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd
Senior Pastor, Cross Church Northwest Arkansas
General Editor, Bible Studies for Life
As a pastor, I have always had great admiration for people I know who are caring for their parents. Many have insured their parents’ financial welfare, others have arranged for their care in a wonderful place, and a few of them have even brought their parents to live within their home. For all of you who have done this, thank you for caring for your parents. Some of you have cared for your parents for many years until their death. May the Lord bless you for your unconditional love towards them.
Jeana’s Mom is eighty-nine years old. Since we moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1986 and her parents retired after pastoring churches for fifty years in 1988, we have talked to them about moving here. Jeana’s Dad became sick and disabled for years before his death; all along through these years and ever since, we have gently encouraged the move. The answer was always the same: As long as I can live on my own, I will; plus, you are a Pastor and God could call you away anytime. Then what would I do? Our attempts to answer that real question have always been in vain.
Jeana’s Mom is eighty-nine years old, still driving, and living alone in her hometown, Bridgeport, Texas. We have always admired her commitment to live on her own and do not blame her one bit.
Jeana leaves today to be with her Mom for a while. On Tuesday, her mom will have surgery. Her energy is low and after much regulation, they believe it is necessary for her to have a pacemaker. Pray for her.
This real life problem exists in many families and will continue to grow as time progresses. Only God knows the future of Jeana’s Mom and how she will adjust in this new season. My Dad died suddenly, and we never dealt with this matter at all. Mom’s health was wonderful until she was diagnosed with leukemia. She died two years ago this coming October 12 after a 21-month battle. Thankfully, my sister lived with my Mom. She cared for my Mom in a fabulous manner, assisted by my brother and sister-in-law who lived close by in our hometown.
While these words today may not impact the lives of millions of people in America, some day it will. People will continue to age. Healthcare and its uncertainty will cause enormous questions about this entire issue. May the Lord lead millions of people who are facing these challenges daily. Remember this: Always honor your parents.
Yours for the Great Commission,
Ronnie W. Floyd