Randy Langham
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Home Mail: pastor@cornersburg.org Pastor's Blog When does a Person Not
 Deserve a Second Chance in Life?

When it comes to criminals we find it hard to give them a second chance, especially if they committed a felony. However, if the criminal was a professional athlete, the person usually receives leniency. Yet, if the felon is a preacher or a politician would the person receive a harsher sentence?

Forget the criminals. What about you? Based on what you have done in your life do you deserve a second chance with life?

Maybe your conflicts with people have escalated to aggressive behavior, perhaps violence. Maybe your past life with drugs and drinking has destroyed relationships as well as property. Many people have experienced a broken marriage. Have you? One out of four American women has had an abortion. Have you? Maybe you have burned so many bridges that you cannot find a job. Have you damaged your body so badly you can “never go back.”

Do you feel you have committed the unpardonable sin? Do you feel like no one has been as bad as you? Do you hate yourself and wish you could put an end to your life? According to the CDC  57% of teen girls claim to have been persistently sad for two months straight, 24% claim to have thought about suicide, and 13% have attempted suicide. Many people feel they have made so many big mistakes there is no hope for them at all.

What about the people in the Bible?

Many people mentioned in the Bible did evil and eventually suffered the consequences. But what about the other people who got second chances? Did they live squeeky-clean lives?

What about Noah? He had a heart for God before the flood - perhaps afterwards as well. But he did get drunk after the flood, and God listed Noah in Hebrews 11, the so-called “hall of faith.”

What about Abraham? He became the father of God’s chosen people. He too was listed in the “hall of faith” even though he committed adultery in God’s eyesight.

What about Jacob? This man was a deceiver taking the birthright away from his older brother. Yet because of his experience with God in a wrestling match he changed and was included in the “hall of faith.”

What about Rahab? Remember her? She was a harlot and a gentile in Jericho. She also lived among people who accepted a variety of lifestyles which God called abominations. Yet, Rahab had a change of heart, and was included in the “hall of faith.”

What about Samuel? This seer was a very godly man, but when he reached an old age the Israelites refused to let his sons be religious leaders, because they turned out so bad. Most couples have regrets about their parenting just like Samuel must have, yet, he too was included in the “hall of faith.”

What about Samson? He was the strongest man ever who obtained the title of judge over Israel. He too was included in the “hall of faith” even though he fell to the lure of women and broke his nazarite vow multiple times.

What about King David? Wow, the God of the universe said of David that he was a man after His own heart. However, this king did the unthinkable by committing adultery with the wife of one of his generals, and when David discovered the wife was pregnant he had her husband killed. This king also had a change of heart in the right way and God gave him a second chance.

What about King Solomon? Solomon was the wisest man ever yet he committed adultery over 1,000 times. Could God work around that? Solomon’s sin

What about Zaccheaus? This wee little man took advantage of other people as a tax collector, but when his heart changed he gave back four times what he had stolen from them, and Jesus rejoiced in his change.

What about King Manasseh? Do you know this guy? He is considered by many to be the absolute worst king ever over Judah or Israel. Among his many evils, he aborted the lives of some of his own children by having them thrown into fires. Believe this or not, when he repented properly, God restored him as king

What about the apostle Paul? This guy sought to destroy the church. He received permission to kill Christians. Later in life he repented properly and God used him in many great ways. Later Paul wrote a letter to a young pastor, saying,

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (1 Tim 1:12-16).

Did you read what Paul said? He said he was so bad that when God changed his heart no one else would ever be able to say, “I have been so bad God could never change me or use me!”

Based on everything mentioned above and based on many other passages in the Bible we can make the following conclusions.

1. Your sins are worse than you think

If you think your past sins are bad, they are not. They are a million times worse. According to Ephesians 2:1-2 you had no idea of what was good and you were an enemy of God. We usually look at our visible sins and think we are bad. God looks at the heart. God says anger is just as bad as murder. He also says lust is as bad as adultery.

2. You are not better than anyone else

Using human eyes you can find ways to think you are better than others. But God has a different standard. That standard is Jesus Christ who was absolutely, totally perfect. According to Ephesians 2:3 we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind. Compared to Jesus we are all just as rotten in our hearts.

3. You deserve to be in a lake of fire right now

The only way for anyone to be with God in heaven is to be absolutely perfect. But, all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfection … [and] the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23 and 6:23). Our sins are worse than we think and anyone of those sins is enough to keep us away from God forever. The end of Ephesians 2:3 says we were by nature children of wrath.

4. God’s mercy and grace are greater than all your sins, and He wants to show off His greatness if you will only submit to His plan.

The first two words of Ephesians 2:4 say, But God. This is amazing. This is mind-boggling. This is totally beyond unbelievable. Verses 1-3 say your sins have been off-the-chart hideous, and then in verses 4 and following the author states how amazing God’s greatness is greater than your sins. God sent His Son to die on the cross for you so that the whole universe would see how wonderful He is.

Look at the rest of Ephesians 2:4-10 from a paraphrase called “The Message.”

4 Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, 5 he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! 6 Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah. 7 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. 8 Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! 9 We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! 10 No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Wow! While it is true that none of us deserves a second chance at life, God chooses to do so, simply because He wants to show to the universe what a great God He is!

To receive a second chance, all you need to do is to admit your faults (primarily from a heart level - from God’s perspective), repent of your sins, claim the victory that Jesus made available on the cross, and (re)submit to Him. Be a living message of what God can do through one of us!

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