The football season is almost over; only the Super Bowl with the last two winning teams playing is left. Because with each playoff game the losing team was eliminated, the theme for those last few games was “win or go home.” Only the teams that won moved on to the next game and those who lost went home to watch the next game on TV like the rest of us. This is the culture of sports. We praise the winners and push aside the losers. Like many things, there are no double eliminations games or second chances. Aren’t you glad God doesn’t use that same game plan?
With God, we have a second chance and a third—and if needed, a fourth and fifth. When we fall, he is there ready to forgive. Before I go any farther, let me quickly remind you, however, that those who have accepted Jesus as savior are not to be like those the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans Chapter 6: “1-3 So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! 3-5 That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means.” (Romans 6:1-3, MSG).
As Christians, we are not to keep on sinning when we know we are sinning but that doesn’t mean God won’t give us a second chance to make right what we messed up when we ask for his forgiveness. A great example of God giving second chances is found in the book of Jonah. Jonah is a wonderful book about second chances.
First were the unnamed characters on the boat with Jonah. Just like the misbehaving Jonah, they got caught up in the storm. These men prayed to their false gods which should have upset God enough to give up on them—however, once they saw God calm the sea, they praised God and were saved. With their praise to God, they sailed on their continued journey with smooth waters.
Next was Jonah himself. He tried to run from God but God stopped him by that now-famous big fish. After the fish spit Jonah out, we read: “The Lord’s word came to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and declare against it the proclamation that I am commanding you” (Jonah 3:1-3, CEB). It was the same orders God had given Jonah before—but now Jonah had a second chance to get his mission right.
Of course, the third group who received a second chance was the Ninevites themselves. They were a sinful people but once they heard Jonah’s message, they repented and were saved by God. God saw they were sorry for their sins and forgave them.
God is all about giving second chances. I don’t know where you are in life today but that’s not really important. You might think that your life is so nasty that even God couldn’t forgive you but nothing could be further from the truth! There is not one thing that you might have done that is beyond the scope of God’s love for you. There is not one thing that can hinder you from asking for God’s love and acceptance. Wherever you are in life, God wants to meet you there. He wants to help you get back on the right track, to get back on the route he needs you on to carry out his assignment. Only you can do the one mission God has planned for you. My prayer for you today is that you will open up so God can do some real healing in your life. If you have not asked Jesus to be your savior, meet with a respected Christian or pastor and learn how you can be the person you were created to be. God is waiting to give you a second chance…or a third, fourth, or twenty-fifth chance. Open your heart to that opportunity.