Article: God of Second Chances! | Jacob Varghese

If there is one truth that is indisputable about human beings, it is that we have an immeasurable capacity to mess up. We all have messed up things in life, made blunders, took wrong steps or in biblical terms-sinned. It comes quite easily to us. Nobody in this world has ever done everything right. May be there are a few people who are misled to think that they are always right. But it is not true. We all fail. We do things we regret. We say things that we don’t mean. We hurt people we love. And we wish if we could have another chance to rectify those mistakes. Have you ever been in a situation when you really needed a second chance? And you thought a second chance doesn’t come along. All that is left is regret and sadness. But we worship a God of second chances! Our God is the God of second chances.

When I look back to my own life experiences with my health, relationships and many other things I can testify that my God is God of multiple second chances. Our Gospel is full of promises for another chance to make it up. There are many inspirational incidents recorded in the Bible about people who received second chances from God in their lives.
I would like to take your attention to few of such people from Bible who got second chances in their life. Firstly I would like to take your attention to the story of Jonah. It is a very familiar story for all of us. We have heard a number of sermons preached about the prophet Jonah. Jonah, the prophet had been commanded to preach to the people of Nineveh the capital of Assyria. Jonah was to tell the Assyrians that judgment was coming so that they could repent and they might be forgiven. But it was hard for Jonah to deal with. Jonah hated the Assyrians and it was difficult for him to reach out to them with the message of forgiveness. We all know what has happened in the story, Jonah ran away. He tried to escape from God and ended up in a whale’s stomach. Well, God could have given up on Jonah and looked for a better and more obedient prophet. But No! At this point in the story, the Bible records a very interesting phrase. In Jonah chapter 3 verse 1 we see, the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. Though Jonah deliberately, consciously and stubbornly ran away, God did not give up. He is a God of second chance. God was not trying to destroy Jonah. He was actually giving him a second chance at obeying.

Let me take you to another familiar story. It is about Peter. Peter was one of the best known disciples of Jesus. Peter was often seen as a being outspoken and intensely loyal to Jesus. Yet he had his own hour of failure. Turn your attention with to Matthew 26:69 following. When the young servant girl accused Peter for being seen with Jesus, Peter cursed, swore and even denied knowing Jesus. In the hour of Jesus’ severe crisis, peter denied, betrayed Jesus. Yet, after His resurrection, Jesus went looking out for Peter. In John 21:15 following we see this incident. He offered him forgiveness and told him to feed His sheep if he truly loved Him. And in a matter of few weeks Peer preached the first Christian sermon ever. The sermon was about the forgiveness of sin. Out of his defeat, Peter learned something. He learned that God is a God of second chance.
Another incident I would like to bring to your attention is about the adulteress woman seen in John chapter 8:1-11. She was dragged across the streets and brought finally to Jesus. All she might have heard that morning were words of abuse, curse and shame. She knew she had failed. She knew she had cheated on her husband. She knew she deserved death. She knew there was no use pleading for a second chance from this hostile, brutally aggressive crowd. They were ready to stone her to death. But Jesus turned the whole situation around. He dispersed the crowd by posing a simple challenge and then He himself dismissed the adulteress woman with a forgiving smile. Go and sin no more. A second chance again. Let us pause and think. The crowd hated the woman for sinning against the law. But, whose law was it anyway? Wasn’t it God’s law? Wasn’t He the author of the commandment- thou shall not commit adultery? If there was any one who could be rightfully angry with this woman it was Jesus, and not anyone from that crowd. And yet Jesus chose to forgive. He chose to forget. He chose to open a new chapter in the woman’s life and to give a second chance. In this story, no one else wanted to give this woman a second chance. Everyone was ready to throw stone at her. But watch what Jesus says to her.He says in verse 10, “woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” No one sir, she said. Then neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. Go now and sin no more. Jesus offered her a new lease on life. A second chance to become the woman of faith, that God always wanted her to be. The truth is that everyone in this story walks away with a second chance. The Pharisees walked away with a chance to think twice about how they should respond to Jesus Christ. The people in the crowd walked away with a chance to think about their own need for grace, to realize their own need for forgiveness. Last but not the least, the woman walks away with a chance to live a life without sin, a chance to end her adulterous life style and come back to the God of second chances.

I am sure we all know the story of Moses. Moses, who was called to lead the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, killed an Egyptian who was abusing a Hebrew slave. When Pharaoh found this out he tried to kill Moses. Escaping to Midian, Moses became a shepherd, got married, and started a family. He had given up and settled for the mediocre life that he had made for himself. Does that sound familiar to your life situation? Have you settled for the second best in your life because you failed the first time around? Well here is the good news. God gave Moses a second chance! Though, Moses goes into hiding – and that’s where God meets him and tells him that he has been chosen. Beside that burning bush that never burned up, God tells Moses the plan He has for him. God wouldn’t listen to any of his most convincing excuses. He ignored the fact that Moses had failed before. He did not care about Moses’ low self-esteem or speech disability. God had a job for Moses to do, and he was going to give him as many chances as he needed to do it. Dear friends, the same Jesus who extended a second chance to the people of His day is extending a second chance to us also. God’s message for us is clear, He is saying I am giving you another chance, a chance to come clean, a chance to start all over again, a chance to repent of the sin and leave it here at the altar of God’s grace, a chance to walk out of the present situation of your life absolutely free and forgiven. God is offering us another chance to have a relationship with Him. How will you respond to this second chance offer?
In conclusion let me tell you, Jeremiah 18:3-4 says like this, so I went down to the potter’s house and there I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot shaping it as seemed best to him. The story of the potter in Jeremiah reveals something important about the character of God. The potter took a piece of clay and began to shape it into a vessel. As he worked, it became apparent that the piece was ruined. Instead of discarding it, he chose to make a different vessel. God does the same with us. The Bible tells us that God formed us from the womb of our mother and he has great plans for our lives. In spite of God’s purpose for our lives, we often choose to do what we want, forgetting to even involve Him in our choices. God never gives up on people. He loves us more than we can comprehend.

I wonder if there is any person reading this, who has been in a situation which you really wanted something to work out but it did not. You felt like if I just had a second chance, I know I could make thing work. When we look back over our life, at some of the situations that we have been involved in and some of the choices that we have made, we think, if only I had another chance. When you make a serious mistake you might think it is all over for you. I want to let you know that the life is not like a game in which you only have one chance to before it is over. I want to let you know that when you make a mistake in this life, with God you get a second chance. The Bible tells us that the God we serve is a God of mercy. It implies compassion that overshadows punishment, even when justice demands it. You see, justice demanded that each and every one of us should have been dead, but mercy stepped in and said, not so. God is merciful and compassionate, and He still cares about us. Even if we have messed up, God still has a plan for our life. That is what God is saying to some of us right now. Get up do what God has told you to do. You did not do it the first time God told you but now He is giving you another chance, a second chance. You fell short the first time, but now you are getting a second chance. God is still telling us in His small still voice, you don’t have to be defeated; you don’t have to be discouraged about what happened in the past. Forget about that, God will deliver you out of every trouble in life and give you another chance, another opportunity to live the way God wants you to live. What a relief that our Gospel is full of promises for another chance to make it up. We worship a God of second chances! Even when we sin, God’s desire is to forgive us. Thank God, His faithfulness is not directly proportional to ours. He is always faithful, in spite of our failures. Dear friends, no matter how far we have gone away from God right now, we need to turn back to God who can erase our past sins in an instant. God did not exaggerate when He made a statement like “As far as the east is from the west so far will I remove your sins from you” He meant it! He stands now at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to accept the second, or third or the hundredth chance that He is offering. Let’s not ruin it. Let’s embrace it and go forward towards a new, clean forgiven life.




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