Most of us live a life of second chances, or, for that matter, third, fourth, and fifth chances. How many things in your life did you get right the first time? You probably needed a second chance after the first time you tried to tie your shoe, ride a bicycle, or play a musical instrument. Truthfully, almost anything worth doing requires practice to get it right, and practice is the repetition of second chances.
It is a great comfort to know that God has given us a second chance at righteousness through Jesus Christ. He gave us a first chance from birth, when our souls were clean and pure. Yet when we fumbled our first chance and marred ourselves with sin, He provided a Savior, Christ the Lord.
Therefore, Christians “have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God” (1Pet. 1:23). A second birth is a second chance, and God desires that all men have that second chance to make their lives right. No one asked to be born into this world, but we can appeal to God for a second birth through Jesus Christ. This is God’s will, for He “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2Pet. 3:9).
To come to repentance is to take the opportunity for a second chance through Christ. Even though we fouled our lives by sin, we may repent of our sinful ways and start over. God in His mercy will forgive us of our previous trespasses and redeem us from death (Eph. 1:7) for a second chance at a godly life. Even after we obey the gospel, God abounds with second chances, for when we stumble and sin, He has promised to forgive us and cleanse us by the blood of Christ when we confess and repent (1John 1:9; Acts 8:22).
However, second chances are not unlimited. Death and the end of this world are looming over us, urging us to take hold of the opportunities that we have now while we have them. The Lord recognized these limitations, saying, “We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work” (John 9:4).
Consider the example of Alfred Nobel. One morning, a newspaper mistakenly reported his death and printed his obituary. Mr. Nobel was horrified to read the world’s perspective of him, that he was known as nothing more than a wealthy inventor, and most notably the inventor of dynamite, an instrument of death. From that moment, he resolved to make his name and his life synonymous with peace rather than destruction. He willed that his fortune be used to establish an award for those who promoted the cause of world peace, and the result was the “Nobel Peace Prize.”
Now imagine yourself with the same opportunity that Alfred Nobel had. What if you were able to read your own obituary? Would it say what you want it to say about you, or would you, like Mr. Nobel, be horrified by the perceived meaning of your life? Alfred Nobel had a second chance to define the meaning of his life, and so do you.
As long as we live, it is never too late to start over, for life is a second chance. This is why we live and why God waits. Again, notice 2Peter 3:9 that says that God “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” God’s patience is our salvation (2Pet. 3:15), for it gives us time to take hold of a second chance to put away sin, obey the Lord, and live a life that is good.
Therefore, take hold of the second chance that God has placed before you. If you have never obeyed the gospel of Christ, do so now and redeem your life for the good service of God. If you are a Christian who has wandered back into sin or has simply become lukewarm and indifferent, confess your sins, repent, and start over again. You will never have a better chance than you have today, and you may not get a second chance at a second chance.
Stacey E. Durham
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