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Jim Purdy Review
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THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

(AND THIRD, FOURTH,…)

Have you ever done something in your life that you were just convinced that God could not or would not ever forgive, or use you again in Christian ministry? I have. I hate to admit that – but I have. And you know what I found out; God gave me a second chance! And in some cases, a third, a fourth, a fifth – you get the idea.

Let me share a precious passage of Scripture that has ministered to me again and again. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9 – ESV) Apparently God already knows that we humans will have a difficult time in remaining sinless – no matter how determined we may be. So, He gave us a very simple and straightforward plan to deal with those times- ask Him for forgiveness – again and again.

Remember what Jesus said to Peter when he asked the Lord how many times he should forgive someone who has sinned against him? Peter thought seven times would be sufficient, but Jesus said seventy times seven. The idea being not just to forgive up to 490 times – but forgive as long as genuine forgiveness is requested. That’s what God does! (And aren’t we thankful for that!)

If Peter had known what was ahead of him I don’t think he would have ever posed that question to our Lord. And before you get all holy and righteously indignant in your condemnation of Peter, let me say that we are no different. God did not record the events in Peter’s life to condemn his moments of weakness – but to give us a shining example of God’s love and willingness to forgive and move on with His plan for our lives!

Let me remind you about Peter’s checkered loyalty to Christ:

He was confident that Jesus was the Christ (‘Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” - Matthew 16:16) yet had to be rebuked for questioning Jesus’ mission to the cross (But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” – Matthew 16:23).

He claimed to be willing to lay down his life for Jesus (‘Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” – Luke 22:23) yet denied three times that he even knew Jesus when it counted the most ( ‘69Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. 70But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. 71Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" 73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." 74Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. – Matthew 26:69-75).

He preached the good news on Pentecost and won thousands to Christ (38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. – Acts 2: 38-41), preached salvation to the Gentiles leading them to Christ((34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whosoever fear Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. …47 Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. - Acts 10: 34-35, 47-48) yet withdrew himself in fear of Jewish Christians later and was rebuked by the Apostle Paul ( 11When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 12Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? – Galatians 2:11-14).

The man is a complete contradiction in terms. And he is just like you and me. We have moments of monumental faith when we could move mountains. Then we have those horribly embarrassing moments when we completely let our Savior down when He needs us. Okay, maybe some of you have never had one of those moments – but I have and I am excited and relieved to be able to tell you that God forgives us in our weaknesses.

Let me also remind you that Peter went on to be a marvelous leader of the new Church of Jesus Christ. He lived his life admirably, was a great influence upon the Body of Christ and died a martyr’s death in Rome – refusing to deny his Christ!

I guess my point is, we may all face moments when we fail to live up to what we want to be in Christ. But that doesn’t mean our effectiveness for Him is over and we can never be used for His Kingdom again. Folks, it’s easy to give up when we fail and that’s exactly what our enemy (Satan) would have us do. But God expects us to get back up on our spiritual feet by falling on our face before Him in repentance. God wants to forgive!

So, if you’re in one of those moments – confess your sin(s) and God has promised to be faithful and forgive you. Then get back up on that Gospel horse (metaphor obviously intended) and go make disciples for Jesus in this world!

At least that’s how I see it.

Blessings,

Jim & Amy



 
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