I was only in the house for two or three minutes. But by the time I returned to my back porch flames and smoke were pouring from the grill. The house was never in any danger. But the steaks were ruined. Burned to a crisp. Even the dog looked the other way.
I wish I could say that was the only mistake I have ever made. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able honestly to proclaim, "I have only made one mistake in my life, and no one was really hurt."
Oh, but that is not the case. We have all failed. We have all blown it. We have all messed up.
The Bible calls this sin, and it claims that sin is a universal behavior.
Paul wrote, "All have sinned…" and "There is none righteous, no not one…" Really, that should be obvious. None of us taught our children to say no. No one taught us to be selfish. It is a part of our nature. Don’t believe me?
Here’s an experiment for you to try. Take two little boys, 2 or 3-years-old each. Put them in a room with one toy. And sit back and watch the sparks fly. They have to be taught to share. We all do.
So by now you are thinking, "Gee, thanks, Brad. I’m so glad that you have pointed out that life is a mess. That is so reassuring."
But there is good news, too.
The message of the gospel is simple. Jesus Christ came to offer forgiveness and grace to sinners like you and me.
God is a God of second chances (and third and fourth and so on, infinitum). He does not want us to stay stuck in the wrongful patterns of life. He wants us to make progress toward Him. But He does offer second chances. And He does so, no matter what we have done.
One of the reasons that I am so convinced of the truthfulness of the Bible is its brutal honesty, especially about its "heroes." Noah got drunk less than a day after getting off the boat. Abraham was a liar. David committed adultery and murder. Peter denied ever knowing Jesus. And Paul was a persecutor of the early church. And yet God loved, forgave, and used each of these men to accomplish His purposes in the world.
And God still promises to love, forgive and use people like you and me.
To become a Christian one must come to terms with the fact that sin is a reality in your life. But then it means to ask the only One who can help to come into our lives and forgive us. And God wishes to do that. Peter wrote, "God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but to come to repentance." That is God’s desire for you. Have you messed up? So have we all. But God loves you, and He sent His Son Jesus for you.
He will forgive if you will just ask. He is the God of second chances. And of that we are glad.