According to a survey taken by Lifeway, 84% of Americans believe that God is a God of second chances. There are books stating that and there have been countless sermons stating the same. Maybe you have gotten some degree of comfort from hearing that God is a God of second chances. There are two problems with it, the first is the Bible never says it and the second is that the Bible never presents it as a principle.
I see two immediate dangers from believing that God is a God of second chances. The first is that it lays emphasis on us. It normally goes like this. Someone has failed. They failed to obey a command or failed to do what they should and they are told not to get discouraged because God is a God of second, third, and an infinite number of chances. In other words, pick up and try again. And don’t worry about failure, God is a forgiving God and he will give you another chance. So you are thinking right now, “Yeah, so what is wrong with that?” We’ll get to it in just a minute.
The second danger I see is that it breeds a try harder–do better mentality. God is a God of second chances so I want to make good on my second chance. As a result, we live our lives trying to do better, trying to make good on the new opportunity, trying as hard as we can to make it right. We make the effort to erase the previous failures. If you do not see the problem yet, let me spell it out for you.
The true gospel does not offer us second chances. It just doesn’t. There are no do-overs, no mulligans, and no second chances. We had one chance to get it right and we blew it. And you don’t get another chance to do it better. In fact, if you had unlimited chances, you would fail every single time. More chances would not help us at all. But the fact is that you don’t get another chance. It’s over. It’s done. It’s finished. We’ve all failed and we all deserve to be punished. The gospel is not about a God of second chances, it is about a God who did what we failed to do. It’s not that He gives us a chance to make things right, but that He came and made things right. You don’t need a second chance, you need someone to come and do it for you and Jesus did just that.
You can flail around in the water if you want to but all your splashing around won’t keep you from drowning. You don’t need a another chance to take a swimming class. You don’t need another chance to learn to hold your breath longer, you need a someone to dive in, grab hold of you, swim you to shore, and do CPR on you. You need a savior and Jesus is the savior.
While you are trying to make good on your second, third, forth, fifth, ect. chance, you are not trusting, resting, or relying on Jesus Christ. Quit fighting and cry out to Jesus to save you. Quit trying and rest in what Jesus Christ has accomplished.