“God is a God of second chances.” This comforting message peppers blogs and sermons. It might even work its way into everyday conversations. We rightfully celebrate such good news. After all, the gospel with its message of forgiveness announces genuine hope and lifts heavy burdens.
Yet, to say that God is a God of second chances stops short. In fact, it could be misleading.
To what extent does the gospel impact our lives? Is this the claim that God forgives us thereby granting us a second whack at life? Does a second chance indicate that we are back at square one? If we could not succeed in living a righteous life on round one, why is there any hope that round two will be any better? A new determination? Really? For how long?
What God provides for those in Christ is more like a complete makeover than a second chance. When we rely upon Christ, we are not transported back to square one with an encouraging slap on the back, “do better this time.” Rather, Christ’s blood transports us into a whole new way of living with a new identity, new supporting tools and a new goal.
Here are some of the ways that living the new life in Christ is like a complete makeover:
- Through Christ’s blood God forgives every sin someone has committed. No longer is there any basis for condemnation. Romans 8:1
- When someone enters Christ, God puts his seal of ownership upon that person guaranteeing his promise. 2 Corinthians 1:22
- Having been forgiven of an enormous debt, profound gratitude ought to erupt toward God. Luke 7:41-43.
- A divinely given purpose infuses life. Ephesians 2:10
- Liberated from the enslavement of one’s own desires, life in Christ involves pursuing God’s ways. Romans 6:16-22
- With the clarity arising from Christ’s teachings that replaces one’s prior beliefs and values, new behaviors replace old ones. As the new mindset is embraced, the power behind sources of temptation can also be undermined. Ephesians 4:17-5:17; James 1:13-14
- No longer alone, the Lord provides help and strength to live this new life. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
- As a person continues to walk in the new life, Christ’s blood continues to forgive. 1 John 1:7
Life before Christ involves the result of whatever train wreck we devised. Life in Christ involves being created as a new spiritual being, free from sin, infused with purpose and equipped for the journey. This involves so much more than taking another whack at doing life under our own power.