The Gospel of the second chance - 21 August 2018

Neville Turley

“I have swept your sins away like a cloud. Come back to me; I am the one who saves you.”  Isaiah 44:22 (GNB)

Christianity is the Gospel of the second chance. One thing all humankind have in common is that, sooner or later, we all do things of which we are bitterly ashamed and deeply regret.

We must not allow our human lapses to become a barrier between us and the desire the Holy Spirit places in our heart to turn to God.

Our God is a forgiving God. It does not matter what we have done. If we genuinely repent and turn to him for forgiveness, He will not condemn us. He will forgive our sins and give us a second chance however, there is something we may need to do first.

God does not tolerate double standards. If we crave unconditional forgiveness from the Heavenly Father, we must totally forgive those who have aggrieved us. Our Lord stressed that in his ministry.

Peter probably thought the Lord would praise his generous nature when Peter asked whether he should forgive a brother seven times. The Lord replied “No, not seven times but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:22)

Jesus then explained his answer with a parable about an unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23-34). That parable has a vital message for us all.  If we want God to show us mercy, we must show mercy to others.  Then, no matter how dire our situation, he will give us a second chance.

Jonah was certainly in a dire way when the fish threw him up on the shore. There he was bedraggled, soaked and covered with fish vomit, yet against all odds, still alive.

He was not however the same wilful Jonah that had been cast in the sea. Jonah was a different man. For deep in the belly of the fish, Jonah had turned to God and promised to serve him.

Jonah had been a great disappointment to God, yet God responded to his plea and gave him a second chance. From God Jonah again received the same call he had been given before, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.” (Jonah 3:2). This time Jonah listened and set off for Nineveh.

Prayer: Almighty God may the Holy Spirit cultivate within us a spirit of obedience to the will of God for Jesus sake.  Amen

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