Second Chances

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That sentence right there from Jonah pretty much sums up the entire Gospel story.  God saw the “works” of believers in His Son and repented of the punishment they deserved and did it not.  We are pardoned by the blood of Christ from the judgement and sentence due us as a result of our sin.  We’ve been given the same second chance Nineveh was.  Nineveh that most corrupt city of Jonah’s time.  A huge city that was completely wicked, this city was so big that it took 3 days to cross it, and so wicked Jonah rebelled against God to try to avoid going to them with a message of warning.  God told him to go to Nineveh preaching repentance that the thousands of people there might be spared God’s judgement.  Jonah knew there reputation though and He wanted nothing to do with God’s plan this time, so he hopped a boat to Tarshish.  And just about got everyone on board killed when God sent a violent storm to flush Jonah out.  The crew on the ship figure out Jonah is the cause of all the wrath so they pitch him overboard.  Immediately the storm stops and Jonah, well he shoulda listened to God the first time, cause what God has in store to drive His point home ain’t pretty.  Jonah gets swallowed up by a giant fish and carried for three days back to where he started out from where the fish vomits him up on shore.  He decides after three days in the stinking, nasty belly of a fish he’ll do what God tells him.  He heads to Nineveh where he warns the city of their impending doom if they don’t change their ways.  You know what, they listen, they repent, they cry out to God and the city is spared.  That’s love, grace, compassion and mercy there. That’s a second chance I am grateful for.  And one I hope and pray all of you will accept as well.  For we are all guilty in the eyes of God.

For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23) 

All.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  (Romans 3:10)

We have all broken God’s laws and in His eyes one sin is the same as another.  That’s tough to hear isn’t it?  I mean we all want to think we’re basically good people and God wouldn’t punish a good person, one who tries to do the right thing and live a good life, right?  Wrong.  God is a just God, a holy God, He will deal with use justly since He can not be with that which is unjust, sinful.  I know, you’re thinking that you haven’t done anything to warrant judgement but I beg to differ, we have all done things that went against God.  Ever tell a lie, maybe even a white one, one that didn’t seem bad but was a lie none the less?  Yea me too, quite a few of them.  Guess what, we’re liars.  Ever take something that wasn’t yours, maybe even just “borrowing” something from work knowing you weren’t bringing it back?  Yep, we’re thieves too.  What about taking the Lord’s name in vain or using it like a cuss word?  I’m ashamed to admit that I was terrible for this one before I got my second chance.  I used that oh so common phrase everyone abbreviates everywhere.  That’s right I was a blasphemer.  Never thought anything of it, heard in movies, even on t.v.  But that’s not how we should use God’s name, His name is holy – not just some common word to toss around and misuse.    I won’t even get into adultery and the fact that Jesus says that if we look at another person with lust we’ve already committed adultery with them in our hearts.  Or that He says if we hate our brother it’s the same as murdering him.  Then there’s greed, covetousness, idolatry, etc.  Face it, we’re all guilty.

So, what’s the penalty we will be faced with on judgement day when we stand before God.  It’s not looking good.  After all we are guilty of sin which has a steep penalty.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  (Romans 5:12)

For the wages of sin is death; (Romans 6:23) 

Ouch, that seems harsh.  Death.  For telling a few white lies or something, it’s not like you’re out killing people, right.  But sin is sin and the penalty is clear, God is a good judge and thus He has to give a just sentence.  The penalty for sin is death.

You’re probably thinking, but I thought this post was about second chances.  Don’t worry it is.  God provided a way out, a way to escape our sentence, a second chance.   Let’s look at that Roman’s verse again, this time all of it.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:23)

Our second chance is Jesus.  Jesus stood in our place before God and took our punishment when He died on the cross at Calvary.  He died for the remission of my sins and yours.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  (Romans 5:8)

He loved us that much.  So when we believe in Him and put our faith in His work on the cross we are pardoned, freed, washed clean.  Given a second chance.  For you see we are made new, when we ask Christ to save us, believe with all our hearts that He died for us, that we are sinners in need of saving, and let Him into our hearts He changes us.  He works mighty works through us, teaches us to love, to care, to show compassion.  When we accept Him we are accepting His work on the cross on our behalf, we are dying with Him in a sense.  Where He really died like bodily, we die to our old ways, to our sin.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Romans 6:10-11)

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
(Romans 6:14)

We are no longer bound by our sin, no longer judged by it for it.  We are free.  And let me tell you, freedom is very good.  I will talk more about how we’re are freed and what that means in another post but trust me, faith in Christ is totally transforming.

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That transformation isn’t even the best part though.  Because Christ didn’t just die for our sins – He rose from the grave three days later!  He conquered the grave, death is defeated!  He was resurrected bodily and because He was we know that one day we will be as well.  That’s one major second chance.  Resurrected to spend eternity with our Savior in heaven, our savior who was the first fruits of the physical resurrection.  But even before the day when Jesus returns for His own and the dead in Christ will rise we know that our spirit immediately goes to heaven upon our death.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
(2 Corinthians 5:6-8)

Let me beseech you friends that if you have not accepted Jesus as you Lord and Savior that you do so right now.  None of us knows what tomorrow may bring or even the next moment and waiting till it’s too late is an eternal mistake, one I hope and pray no one will make.  So please head this final passage, follow it, accept your SECOND CHANCE.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
(Romans 10:9)

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