Also in this section:
- A Gospel That Doesn't Make Sense
- God as Ultimate Being, is Never Becoming
- Complacent Repentance
- Getting Hit By The Waves
- Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?
- Rejoice, Imitate, Identity – And So On and So On…
- S. S. S.
- Pardoned and Glorified
- Our Future is Bright
- Misunderstanding “Repentance” is Confusing the Gospel
- Image and Likeness = Dignity and Sanctity
- Sheep Without a Shepherd
- Why Christian Marriage Matters
- The Ordinary Christian Life Is a Radical Life
- People Over Profit
- The Greater David
- 4 Ways God Punishes Sin
- Go Therefore…
- Would Jesus Win Every Event at The Olympics?
- The Object of Our Faith
- Habakkuk’s First Complaint
- Your Lion’s Den
- Give Me Liberty
The God of the Second Chance
by Eric J. Bargerhuff, Ph.D.
March 1, 2016
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you in
When I was a young lad growing up in
The highlight of my Big Wheel career was being involved an open invitation Big Wheel race that was held one summer at the
I can’t help but surmise that there are many of us who would like to go back and change some mistakes that we have made, to have a second chance. There may actually be some deep emotional and spiritual scars from mistakes in our past where we simply spun our tires out of control. “Will God ever forgive me?,” we ask. Our guilt and our shame before God prevent us from experiencing the richness of His blessings that come from a deep relationship with the God of grace. We cling to the idol of self-perfection, and forfeit the grace that could be ours. (Jonah 2:8)
If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. There was a man named Peter in the Bible who swore up and down that he would never deny being with Jesus Christ. Even after Christ predicted he would, Peter vehemently claimed that he would remain true, even to the point of death. Jesus told him that before a rooster would crow twice (Mark ), he would deny Christ three times. So when the time came after Jesus’ arrest for Peter to be questioned regarding his association with this Nazarene, he did exactly what he said he wouldn’t do. He denied even knowing Jesus claiming, “I don’t know this man you are talking about” (Mark 14:71). It was after those fateful words that the rooster then crowed for the second time and Peter himself “ate crow” (figuratively speaking). To make matters worse, Luke’s account of this event says that it was just then that “the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (Luke 22:61), which must have been a heart wrenching moment. And Peter went out and wept bitterly over what he had done. The realization of the betrayal of his Savior caused him much grief. He was devastated over his own sin. And with Christ soon to die, Peter wasn’t quite sure if he would get a second chance.
Fortunately for Peter, Christ was only dead for three days (the Jews counted Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday morning as three days). And it was after these three days that the “God of the Second Chance” arose from the grave with power and might, conquering the power the devil possessed over death and the grave (Heb 2:14). On that very day that Christ was risen, the women who came to the tomb were in for a shock, and so was a man named Peter. For the angel at the tomb said to the women, “He has risen! He is not here…but go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you in
You see, the angel made an effort to point out Peter as one that should specifically be told of the Savior’s resurrection. Why? No one may know for sure, but perhaps God remembered the anguish that his beloved friend was still in, and insisted that Peter know right away that he had a second chance. Jesus loved Peter, and in the same way, He loves you and me. That empty grave has given you and I a second chance.
Always remember that it is never too late to seek forgiveness, to confess your sin and be restored (1 John 1:8, 9). There is no sin too bad or too great that God’s sufficient and abundant grace can’t cover. As the old hymn reminds us, His grace is “greater than all our sin.” For the God of the second chance is real, and alive today, ready to forgive. He didn’t die in vain but sufficiently paid the penalty for our sin, guilt, and shame. And fortunately, God gives us, just like he did Peter, more than one or two chances. He is a God of never ending grace, who longs to see you restored and living at peace with Him. He longs for you to be free! (John 8:36) Peter understood this to be God’s great mercy, and in his mind he tied mercy and hope to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3) How appropriate, for this is the very moment Peter felt God’s mercy and heard it spoken to him on the report that Christ had risen.
Unfortunately, not all of life can be lived over again so that mistakes can be remedied. I may never get to run that Big Wheel race again, but now I’m more interested in another race…the race of life that God has marked out for me (Heb 12:1). And with Christ-likeness as my goal and with forgiveness graciously given to me, it is promised to me that I will indeed finish the race (Phil. 1:6), and in the end I will be a winner. That prize is much better than the Big Wheel trophy, and it’s the one that really matters.
Dr. Bargerhuff holds a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He teaches Systematic Theology at Trinity College of Florida and is the author of The Most Misused Verses in the Bible and Love That Rescues: God's Fatherly Love in the Practice of Church Discipline.