14 February 2008

"The God of the Second Chance" — sometimes

by Dan Phillips

Not sure how many times I've heard it said and/or preached that "God is the God of the second chance." But it's a number larger than one.

Usually the Biblical backdrop is Jonah, "the reluctant prophet." ("Reluctant" as in, "So, you say head East? Hm... where's the quickest boat heading West...?")

Now, strictly, I don't myself think of Jonah in "second chance" terms. He didn't try to serve God, fail miserably, and get a "second chance" at it. Rather, he tried to run away from the revealed, binding will of God; was arrested, swallowed, sunk, shaken, stirred, thoroughly marinated, then thrown back into service, indeed loving God, but not so much loving what he had to do.

But in a way, that is a second chance. "Do this." "No." "Here's a second chance: do this."

Other Bible characters do get multiple opportunities. Pharaoh certainly did, though the net effect of his hard-hearted response was to glorify Yahweh (Exodus 9:16; 14:4, 17-18). Nebuchadnezzar did (Daniel 2, 3, 4). Herod did (Mark 6:17-20). Felix did (Acts 24:24-26).

But not everybody did. For instance, Esau's irreversible selling of his birthright and loss of his blessing is a chilling example (Hebrews 12:16-17). He did not get a second chance.

Moreover, Belshazzar didn't get a second chance as Nebuchadnezzar had. A foolish feast, the hand writes, aged Daniel scorchingly pronounces his doom — and he's gone (Daniel 5; hear my pastor's fine sermon on that passage).

Nor is anyone guaranteed limitless "second chances." Herod Agrippa ran out of chances (Acts 12:20-23). Israel ran out of chances before their fall to Assyria (2 Kings 17:7-18). Judah ran out of chances before their exile in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:15-16). Hearers of the Gospel run out of chances (Hebrews 1:1-4; 3:13; 12:25).

It is a great, immeasurable act of folly to assume that God's grace today means He'll spare us tomorrow. Today's show of divine mercy is no guarantee of forbearance tomorrow. In fact, today's show of grace obliges us to repent today (Romans 2:4; Hebrews 3:7-19).

Here, I think, is a proper statement of the tension:

The Bible holds out great hope to the repentant man or woman who scarce dares to dream that God could accept him or her in Christ.

The Bible holds out no hope to the unrepentant man who presumes on the longsuffering of God, and who misinterprets His forbearance as approval (Romans 2:4-5).

And so, whether in preaching, writing, or conversation: if I am dealing with someone who knows full well that he is thumbing his nose in God's face, shall I comfort Him with thoughts God's endless patience and kindness and grace and "unconditional forgiveness"?

Or shall I not earnestly and soberly point him to the fact that he's already run out the clock, that he's already in extra innings, that he hasn't a leg to stand on, and that he needs to do business with God on God's terms, and do it now?

Which would be truer? Which would better serve God, and my friend?

Now is not solely "the acceptable time" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

It's the only time.

Dan Phillips's signature

57 comments:

John Haller said...

So on Christmas Eve when Rick Warren preached on FoxNews that God gives us a mulligan... not so good, huh?

DJP said...

< groan >

pt said...

Well said -- and, though I'm shamed to admit it, Providentially timed for me.

For those of us who claim to be Christians, this is a message that needs to be heard more often and with more vigor. We too often forget our own basic theology, or worse, only take the bits we like to heart:

Jesus died on the cross for me (i.e., provided my "second chance"). That's a comfortable truth. I've heard that from my earliest days in Children's Church.

I tend to forget the cause of Jesus' death: God's wrath over my deliberately rebellious sinfulness.

This morning I didn't need to be told, "it's o.k., Jesus loved you enough to die for you", but "Jesus was put to a bloody, painful death for behavior like that. Are you really so selfish to scorn both His sacrifice and God's wrath? Do you dare mock Him like an unbeliever? "

Excuse me, I have some repenting to do.

The Doulos said...

I just heard a reference to the "God of second chances" a few days ago, and was thnking to myself that it ws not quite right but couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with the expression. Thanks DJP, for doing it for me.

pt said...

doulos -- you just reminded me. The Veggie Tales' _Jonah_ movie emphasizes "the God of second chances" (yep, I have 4 year olds). Their point was that because God gave Jonah a second chance, we should extend the same to others who offend us. The movie does a good job making this point for kids, and at the same time makes it clear that, in the end, "Jonah didn't get it".

It's a different slant than the abuse DJP is pointing out here, and I think it's theologically legit.

Mark said...

Not to confuse the issue, but whether we are repentant or un-repentant...does it matter that much? Even the best of us are the worst of us...so to speak. I guess it might make me feel better about myself if I'm more repentant...I really CAN save myself!

I'm not saying that repentance is a bad thing, but I feel its something WE should do in response to grace God offers us....not the other way around in a magic If, then, else transactionalism. If I repent, then God gives me forgiveness, else I am judged. This makes puts too much power in my hands...-cringing waiting for the dogpile-

cslewis3147 said...

Thanks for this Dan...mind if I incorporate some of this idea into my Sunday School lesson this Sunday? I'll credit my source and I promise to use footnotes in my outline and not endnotes....

Daryl said...

MArk,

Your right. We do tend to take anything we can get our hands on and try to make it something by which we can improve our standing before God.
Someone (Luther maybe?) said that even our tears of repentance need to be forgiven. I think that's what you're driving at.

We must repent. We must also remember that repentance itself, is a gift from God.

donsands said...

Nice post.

My wife has given me many second chances.
She's amazingly longsuffering with a dull-of-hearing husband.
How much more has God. And His granting me repentance all these past times, doesn't guarantee He will do so in the future. i need to take this to heart, and never presume on His graciousness.
Thanks for the exhortation.

Your pastor preached a fine sermon. Thanks for sharing that. Powerful preacher; you are blessed.

Johnny Dialectic said...

"Not to confuse the issue, but whether we are repentant or un-repentant...does it matter that much? Even the best of us are the worst of us...so to speak. I guess it might make me feel better about myself if I'm more repentant...I really CAN save myself!"

Yes, that really does confuse the issue. It's a non-sequitur to go from biblical repentance to feeling "better about MYSELF."

Dan puts it nicely: "The Bible holds out great hope to the repentant man or woman who scarce dares to dream that God could accept him or her in Christ." [And, I might add, scarce dares to think repentance equals any iota of merit]

C.T. Lillies said...

A hard truth well put Dan. Thanks again.

I get so tired of warm fuzzy preaching...

Stefan said...

Saul's another one who didn't get a second chance...in fact, Samuel so much as threw Saul's putative second chance back in his face. "Sorry, old boy, it's too late now." Ouch.

PT: Thanks for having the courage to write what you wrote, so I don't have to. I'm in the same position. I've been presuming on God's grace for weeks now, all the while drifting through life consumed with worldly distractions.

Dan: Thank you for this post. The timing is providential.

Judah said...

Dan: Do you believe that God is immutable?

stratagem said...

Sarcasm on.

Dan, Dan, you just don't make a very good Emerg*** at all. With all this talk of we may not always get a second chance, next thing you know you'll be saying that we have to "find" truth at some point, and it's not OK to just keep on hiding behind seeking it.

Don't you know that today it's all about the Wimpy Gospel, you know, "I'll Gladly Repent Tuesday for a Graceburger Today."

OK, sarcasm off now. Fact is, every second we live is another chance to repent. God is the God of zillions of chances, if we could only know. Great message from you as always, Dan, thank you.

Terry Rayburn said...

Good one, Dan.

He is the God of Absolute Sovereignty In Determining Whether There Will Be A Second Chance Or Not.

Or a thousandth chance, for that matter.

And it's that sovereignty that galls so many people, who sing, "If I ruled the world..."

Of course, once we're born again, Rom. 8:28 puts second chances or the lack thereof in a whole new [glorious] light, praise God.

Mike Riccardi said...

Always a pleasure, Dan. I've recently spoken firmly with a long-time unbelieving friend who "just isn't sure yet," and isn't taking too many pains to get sure. This is a good exhortation and encouragement.

One thing, though. You reference to Herod is cited as Acts 14:20-23. It's actually Acts 12:20-23. Not trying to be a stickler; just thought you may want to change it.

And I'm with Daryl, Mark. We have to remember that God grants the repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18), and that metanoia is a change of heart and mind before it is a change of behavior. Such an internal, heart-change can only be granted by God Himself in Christ.

See... no worries... no dogpile. :o)

ezekiel said...

Mark,

Extending the use of your logic, then why do we as Cristians practice righteousness?

After all saved means saved and that by no works of our own, right?

Then we run into scriptures like
1 John 3:1-10 or John 15. It should be pretty clear that we do these things because we are saved, not because we are trying to be saved. We bear fruit because we are part of the vine, not because we are trying to be part of the vine.

The same way with repentance. Do we repent because we are making a trade for our salvation or do we repent because with Christ in us, we just don't want to do it any more?

Stefan said...

Perhaps Dan was focusing on second chances (or lack thereof) for non-believers to repent, but I took it to apply to us as believers as well, for surely it applies to us as well?

Yes, we have assurance of salvation; and yes, we are assured that God's grace is sufficient for His saints to persevere to the end; but we do have the possibility of falling away. The Reformed answer is that one who has fallen away was never truly born again in the first place. But how do we know if we are born again? By bearing fruits of the Spirit as evidence of our sanctification. If I took an inventory of the fruit in my cupboard right now, it'd consist of a couple of crabapples and a rotten fig or two. The problem is, knowing my situation, am I really desiring to have better fruit in my larder, or am I allowing myself to be content with the rotten fruit I have?

And how do I get better fruit? The answer must be the same as to the question, "How can I be saved?" By repenting and allowing the Holy Spirit to do its work in me. There is no work I can do as a saved believer (as I believe myself to be) to "be a good Christian": that would imply that Jesus' unmerited sacrifice was insufficient. But I can repent, and choose to live a life of sacrifice and obedience to Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me; or I can choose not to repent, backslide, and risk ending up in Hebrews 10:19-39 territory.

Does this make sense? I'm not a dispensationalist, but the distinction between "Lordship salvation" and "carnal Christianity" seems to be a valid one, regardless of one's eschatological beliefs.

Stefan said...

...And this seems to be an application of that distinction, unless I'm mistaken.

witness said...

judah said "Dan: Do you believe that God is immutable?"

hmmm... a loaded gun if ever I saw one. Another great article Dan!

Strong Tower said...

God doesn't deal in chance, so he sent his son to preach repentance. If there were second chances he would have come to call us to rechancence.

To often we get stuck in this time/space continuum and forget that we are called to eternal life. If you role a die the turn is over when the die comes to rest. But, our rest is in always working as Jesus said, the Father is at work, I am at work. The Father has remove the "chance" of failure so that our hearts are always looking to the first and last, the author and finisher. Faith removes the barriers and means of stumbling. It should then remove from us presumption in that we do not perform to receive. It is really when we fall into that mode of works for rewards that chancing comes into play. If we would continue in his word we would bear fruit like his which was finished from the foundations of the world. We slip into our flesh though, back into that old condemnation and then seek to renew our relationship by sacrifice, when all that Christ wants is us to trust in his. No more chances, because chance speaks of the possibility of defeat, but we are more than conquerors through he who has said, "It is finished."

When we despair of ability, forsake our self-dependence, then we move beyond repetitiousness, committing the same sacrifices that can never remove guilt, toward other-reliance. If we presume, it is the presumption that we need another chance, for if we think that Christ has not satisfied the whole debt we have left our first love, and seek solice in another, created in our image, of man, and of beasts and creepy crawly things.

God the Father granted us one chance, that whosoever is believing in his Son will never fail, but has eternal life.

When we do repent it is not so that we can try, try, try, and try again, it is from trying in the first place to please him who has said, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased...Listen to him." So, we learn not to listen to ourselves, and not to make ourselves other than what he has made us to be by presuming that we can void God's grace by what we do or do not do.

That is the trappings of the flesh which deceives us and says, "go ahead, God will forgive you," and being lead astray we again die in our sins. This is not to say that we must continually be born again again, for that would void all that went before. It is to say, that to follow Jesus is to forsake all, even the last idol in the temple the self. We dare not place ourselves back in Adam's feet and think that we could do what he did not. Ours is to accept the life that God has given us, a life here, on this side of eternity of repentance from belief in our own self-effort to believing in the Son of God whose efficacious work on our behalf has born all our grief and sorrow, all our failed attempts, all the stripes and beatings, yes, all our deaths to sins we commit and has translated us into his kingdom. And for that we walk not presuming upon his grace, but with thankful hearts rightly worshipping the God of grace.

SolaMeanie said...

I think Sam will be referring to Jael and the tent spike soon. I second the referral.

I sometimes struggle in the flesh with the attitude, "God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but I certainly do!" Enough chances already! Then I remember that I'd best show others the same grace and mercy God shows me. Ahem!

Judah said...

witness said judah said "Dan: Do you believe that God is immutable?"

hmmm... a loaded gun if ever I saw one.


I think it is a justifiable question based on the content of the post, especially the example of Esau. The text does not read that Esau had one chance, screwed it up, and was not offered a second chance. Rather, based on a reading of the Old Testament narrative along with Romans 9:10-13, Esau did not have a first chance to begin with. Before the children were even born God told Rebekah who the promised child would be. To use this as an example of someone not getting a second chance is to err seriously on both exegetical and theological grounds.

Dan's two statements of "tension" have little to do with second chances. The first statement has to do with repentance/regeneration/belief/salvation while the second has to do with someone misinterpreting God's common grace as approval for their sinful lifestyle.

He then goes onto talk about someone who is deliberately being rebellious against God. This, again, has little to do with second chances and more to do with the sick state of depravity in which humankind finds themselves. Of course this person should be comforted with God's unconditional forgiveness, endless patience and kindness and grace because someone who is deliberately being rebellious to God is going to need it.

The real issue is how we present this message: is it presented in such a way that justifies this person current demeanor, or, more biblically, is it presented to describe just how great the God of the Bible is.

If God is immutable (which I'm assuming Dan believes he is, so the question was loaded), then I think the concept of "second chances" is an odd one. God is gracious towards sinners through Christ. Period.

The idea of second chances seems to come from an idea of a mutable God, i.e. that he changes his mind whether or not he is going to extend grace to a person. Does this mean that we only have a pre-determined window of opportunity to be renewed by the Holy Spirit before he gives up on us and moves along to someone else, leaving us in a state where we could not repent even if we wanted to?

Puritan said...

God has been the God of 70 x 7 chances with me.

When preaching to the stubborn one, of course I let him know he may not have tommorrow and not to presume on the mercies of God, but I also remember that it is the kindness of God that leads sinners to repentance,knowing that His kindness and longsuffering is what God often uses to break a man.

webbo6 said...

Rick Warren said that the gospel is like a mulligan. God gives you a second chance another go at it. When I heard that I thought thats not right. Is God a God of the second chance? Is that all we need? We messed up now we need a second chance? My problem is not that I need another “chance” my problem is that I’m a sinner incapable of even “hitting the ball” God could have given me a million second chances & I would have blown it every time!



Oh the gospel of Jesus Christ it so much better than that! I was a hell deserving, hell bound sinner. Jesus came and (using the golf analogy) played the perfect game. He hit a hole in one on every shot!!!! And that with all the power of satan blowing against him. Hebrews 4:15 ESV For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus came to this earth (Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law) and lived the perfect life he never sinned! Heres where its so much better than getting a second chance; he takes my scorecard, the one with all the sins on it, and he atones for it on the cross. In return He gives me His perfect scorecard and puts my name on it as if I was the one who shot the round. He said my score is now yours!!!! How amazing and awesome is that!!!! 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

What an amazing, wonderful, merciful gracious God he is!!! Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, speak it, proclaim it, shout it out from the housetops!

Stefan said...

Can someone answer my questions in my comment above? I'm walking a tightrope here between the principles of the doctrines of grace (which I wholeheartedly affirm) and the seeming suredness that I was truly born again a little over a year ago (baptized in the Holy Spirit even, though I'm not a Charismatic) on the one hand; and the practical reality of a being in a spiritual rut where I seem to prefer my besetting sins to a life of obedience. Yes, Jesus Christ has already died for my sins; on that basis, I am promised that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. And yet....

Is it just a matter of repenting and moving on? But how to I get to the point of genuinely desiring to repent? Does this even make any sense?

donsands said...

I have been blessed with the comments. makes me think. And that can be dangerous in some churches today.

For the elect of god, we need not a second chance for our being His elect. He chose us in the Beloved Son before He created the stars.

Our sanctification is quite different. As God conforms us into the image of His Son by purging us, there will be times when some will need the same purging over and over.
King David, who was such a sinner really, was also a man after god's own heart, and so the second chances, but not without the consequences.

Bill said...

This post made me think of
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). I bet they would have LOVED a second chance.

God bless.
Bill

Strong Tower said...

Stefan; aka Sewing-

Yahew kenot geyt tu da poont, das da poont- jez rapent-

The heart of man is deceitfully wicked above all else; who can know it? But, what does the word say, if today you hear his voice, donuht hardin yer hahret. Repent and believe- and get on about the Lewrd's bizness, noht yern.

We don't speak quite like that here in WY, but even in this backwards alien landscape it is hard to live life like we now see it, so we keep slip slidin away, fallen down and getting back up, learning to walk with our eyes closed trusting, or as Paul would say not by sight, but seeing since we have this hope in us... I know it doesn't answer your why, but I have been asking that same question for nigh on thirty-four years and the answer keeps coming back, because "I Am." And when I begin to grumble too much and argue I hear, "What say you lump of mud?" You get the idea, right? Better keep your eyes on the road... keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus...the creator, the first in, and the perfecter of our faith. In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Do not think of this as making our ways straight, or preparing a highway for our feet, but rather, that we repent and proclaim this way of the Lord. It is his highway which is straight. Or as Jesus said to the teachers of the law, either make the tree good, or else evil. Proclaim him, seek first his kingdom, and his righteous, then, these things will be added to you, according to his will, not yern.

Repentance is a free gift of God, mon, you've got it, do it. And if he says, "no but my power is made perfect in your weakness", well, it is the way the truth and the life, believe him!

Strong Tower said...

donsands-

the consequences are the second chances!

Look, the fact that we are puunished as the Big Bossman would say, is that very fact that there are no second chances. Screw up, you pay the price, Adam. Our hope is in this, that we are sons and daughters now and forever, undergoing the discipline of a loving father who instructs us through the apostle's espistle in Hebrews, chapter 12. It is two part, first, know this: you will not get a second chance, you will be purged by scurge. Take it to the bank, it will happen. That is why, secondly, it goes on to tell us, not to take the discipline lightly so as to live such a way as to incur it, but rather we are to spur one another on to good works.

Tim said...

If God sovereignly determines the when and where of a person's regeneration, how can we speak of "second chances"? Either He does it or He doesn't.

That aside, I am thrilled beyond words at what happened yesterday in my family. Over the past couple of weeks, a variety of circumstances have come together to convince our son (who will be 10 next week) of the depth and breadth of his sin, and of his utter helplessness in the face of it. Yesterday afternoon, it appears that he embraced God's gift of forgiveness and reconciliation.

My wife and I will be watching and evaluating in the coming days and weeks to "test the fruit" to see if genuine conversion has occurred, but all signs are positive so far. The difference in him between yesterday morning and yesterday evening could not be more dramatic.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Or shall I not earnestly and soberly point him to the fact that he's already run out the clock, that he's already in extra innings, that he hasn't a leg to stand on, and that he needs to do business with God on God's terms, and do it now?

Personally, I think that's the more loving response.

But hypothetically speaking, if that recipient of your truth-in-love complains to his liberal secular and liberal Christian friends about your approach, then the chances are high that his liberal friends will declare that you are a bible-thumping literalist fundamentalist, judgmental Pharisee who concentrates more on hell-fire than God's love and grace and mercy and forgiveness. In short, that you are an evangelist and marketer of fear, whereas they proclaim that God is love.

And you will be the bad guy, and they will be the "good" guy, and that's the way it sometimes goes.

Oh well. C'est la vie. You tried.

Stefan said...

Strong Tower:

Thank you. Thank whichever Scottish (?) preacher you were evoking as well. Stop thinking about it...just do it. I'll do it.

TUAD:

Wow, does your hypothetical scenario ever ring of truth! I think there is a perception among non-believers that conservative evangelicals use the prospect of eternal hellfire as a way of "scaring" people into believing God, offering money to the church, and getting rich off that money, coercively maintaining control, etc. Of course, this perception is manifestly wrong on every level—at least in the case of Biblical churches; 1 Peter-type wolves and charlatans are another matter. Satan has won the world by convincing us that there's really no such thing as eternal torment—that it's nothing more than a fear tactic.

Stefan said...

Well, he's seemingly won the world for the moment, but of course in God's grand redemptive plan, Satan ultimately has control over nothing.

J. R. Miller said...

Is God a hypocrite? This was a question that came up in a recent discussion at our Sunday Conversation. We are working our way through Acts and we came to the passage in Ch 5 and the story of Annanias & Sophira. Why, if God is all about forgiveness, did He not give this couple a chance to repent of their sin?

I think that is a great question. Is God a hypocrite? Should he not give everyone a second chance?

My own answer to this question is contained within my sermon, but I am so thankful that you are asking the right questions here on this blog.

jeff said...

Amen Dan.

donsands said...

"the consequences are the second chances!"

My pea brain just ain't gettin' it. But hey, you're prolly right.

"the consequences are the second chances!"

Blessing to you. I'll discuss this a little more with the wife.

The Doulos said...

As I've read and chewed on some of these comments I have come to understand what it is I disagree with in the "God of second chances" cliche. And that is that there are no such things as "chances" with God. At all. When we talk about second chances, we mean that "Oops, I failed the first time, but just let me try again and I promise I'll get it right." But that is absolutely, positively, categorically anti-grace and anti-Gospel. "Chances" to do it right are purely based on opportunities for works. The reality is that as depraved and lost human beings, God could give us an infinite number of chances and we'd never get it right. And that's the whole point. Didn't I read somewhere recently (wait, I think it was right here!) about man's total inability? God doesn't give us a chance to repent and believe, and praise Him that He doesn't! Instead, He sovereignly causes His elect to believe. And leaves nothing in that transaction to chance.

Now, if we're talking about "second chances" for obedience and turning from sins this side of conversion, of course God is all about second chances. Because if He wasn't, we would all be toast within seconds after our conversion. But again, the same blood of Christ that covered our sin before conversion is sufficient to atone for our sins that we continue to commit as we travel the path to santification. He continues to give us opportunities (I like that term better than "chances") to obey Him, to live in holiness, to mortify sin. And when we inevitably fail to do so perfectly (just like Paul, a la Rom 7), He disciplines us and continues to geal with us in grace. So you could call it "second chances", but I prefer to view it as amazing grace.

stratagem said...

Joe Miller

I went to your reunion church website and my internet filter (truevine.net) wouldn't let me go to your doctrinal statement. They've actually got it categorized as "occult" !!

What you got in that thing, dude?

The Doulos said...

stefan: If I took an inventory of the fruit in my cupboard right now, it'd consist of a couple of crabapples and a rotten fig or two. The problem is, knowing my situation, am I really desiring to have better fruit in my larder, or am I allowing myself to be content with the rotten fruit I have?

A couple of observations, stefan. First and foremost, remember Who it is that produces the fruit. It ain't you, it's Him. And who is it that is the real fruit insepctor, the One who determines the true quality and quantity of spiritual fruit? Again, it ain't you, or me, or your pastor or your accountability pal. It's Him. And who do you think it is that is glorified when He produces even a tiny fig of real spiritual fruit in your life? Same answer. So put all that together and tell me, will He allow one of His elect to truly live a life of fruitlessness indefinitely? Absolutely not. Will there be dry spells in the vineyard when the branches aren't heavy with grapes, when the ground seems dry? Yes, and all of us have been there. Will there be seasons of failed crops? Yes. But again, will the Master Vinedresser allow His choice ones to go on indefinitely with no discernable fruit of His presence? Not according to His words over and over to us.

So take heart, and look to Him for the true evaluation of your fruitfulness, for the desire to be fruitful, and for the grace to live a life that glorifies Him.

J. R. Miller said...

stratagem, aside from the promotion of animal sacrifice and worshipping in the buff, I am not sure what would cause your service to filter out my statement of faith.

Barring that, you can find all that stuff on my blog More Than Cake.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I was reading Jonah to my kids the other night and I was enjoying seeing the mercy of God in that account. I was thinking about how disgusting I am when I lack compassion.

It seems that Jonah's "second chance" was all wrapped up in "jumping in." To get there was the supernatural storm, that supernatural lot casting, Jonah getting the short stick. And then, "Hmmmm, I can die with all these idolaters when the storm destroys this ship or I can die jumping in alone." There was a tiny bit of repentance in "jumping in." But huge amounts of mercy. The whale and seaweed seminary and the gourd. A powerful message. And I would call Nineveh a receptive crowd. It's hard to be impressed with Jonah's oratory skills.

Interesting read.

DJP said...

PT -- Thank you so much for sharing that. Testimonies such as yours are more humbling, sobering, and encouraging than you know. God bless you.

Mark -- I think that kind of snarl is what happens when you isolate a concept or two and then spin around with them. Take the whole of the Bible, and it's actually much simpler than that. God tells us to repent. We should. If we do, it's His grace. Now is the only opportunity assured to us.

CSLewis3147 -- Thanks for the chuckle, yes... and I'm holding you to your word on the footnotes!

Judah -- did you email Frank yet?

Strategem -- "I'll Gladly Repent Tuesday for a Graceburger Today."

I like it. But I was a huge Popeye fan as a kid.

Mike RIccardi -- thanks very much, I made the correction.

Stefan -- yes, the principle applies across the board. I think the people Jesus most repeatedly commands to repent in Scripture are the professed believers in Revelation 2-3. But -- and this could be the topic of another post -- my understanding of the Biblical doctrine of assurance and security does not hold out comfort to the stubbornly unrepentant.

BTW, I am a dispensationalist, and the whole "gutless grace" thing is a perversion, not a defining facet, of that understanding of Scripture.

Tim -- praise God, and may He be glorified in your young man.

Kent -- "The whale and seaweed seminary"

I love it!

Jonah has to have been one of the few preachers, ever, who was depressed and angry because his hearers did take the Word to heart, and repent!

S.J. Walker said...

Solameanie,

"I think Sam will be referring to Jael and the tent spike soon. I second the referral."


Ahhh, alas, I come late. But here it is for you.

Dan, hammer that spike.
Thwack thwack thwack.

(that actually sound like a duck with a lithp) Anyway.

Solameanie,

you also said:
"Then I remember that I'd best show others the same grace and mercy God shows me."

Amen. A preacher I heard once down south said: "those that preach Grace awtta have some".

I say amen again to that while I remove yet another stake from my forehead.

Gilbert said...

When second chances run out...

Pyros, et al,

Normally I leave some simple message when I'm trying to be serious, and then lay a joke (or a joke of an egg) making an attempt to be comedic.

None of that. Not now.

I've disclosed here that I work as a meteorologist, by trade. What you don't know is that I work at a place that just had a rampant school shooting today---Northern Illinois University.

I was 3 buildings away when it happened. Being that I have a weather center with police scanners, when I got a call that it had just happened, I turned on my police scanner. I like to listen to it at home; in a college town, there's always something interesting going on. But the chill I got listening to a frantic police officer call for MediVacs and said he had 15-20 down was nothing short of scary.

And then, someone called up and said the shooter might be heading my way.

I turned off the lights, closed and locked my door, closed the blinds, turned off the scanner and crouched down away from the door for a while as footsteps went up and down the stairs outside my office. My plan was that if someone started shooting to get into my office, I'd jump on my computer table and then give the drop kick of his life when he busted through. I enjoy amateur wrestling, and was ready to put a gunman into a headlock and knock him silly for a while til the cops got there if need be.

Well, the rumor was false, and I was allowed to leave my office after about an hour for home. I drove home on the only way out, oddly enough, driving close to Cole Hall, where the gunman had killed at least 5 people.

5 people who never got a "second chance".

As others have stated, God gives us a second chance every time we breathe. Repent when you have the chance and turn to Jesus while you can. An acquaintance I know is one of the ones shot. One of those sometimes will be your LAST time.
Will you be ready for that last sometime?

Sometimes indeed, Dan.

Sometimes.

Judah said...

Dan:Judah -- did you email Frank yet?

i most certainly did. He was making sure I was not some "troll," whatever that is. He said I could continue commenting.

So, are you going to address my comments or just pretend those issues don't exist?

Stefan said...

Doulos:

Thank you very, very much. Your words have been sweet manna.

Dan:

I respect you for your years of grace-guided biblical scholarship. Personally, I can't get on board with dispensationalism because of how I understand Romans 9 to 11, but I respect the hermeneutical reasons that led you to embracing it; and I know that you, Phil, Phil's boss, and many other "dispies" take Spirit-led sanctification in the life of the believer very seriously. You've taught me a lot about discipleship over the last year, and I look forward to much more edification from you in the years to come.

By the way, I agree with you that the "stubbornly unrepentant" fall into a different category. This is where Hebrews 10 seems to apply. There but for the grace of the sovereign Lord go we all....

Poetress said...

Judah,
To answer whether God is immutable, (unchangeable?) presumably one would have to look at the the attributes of His character that He has revealed to us, as a whole. I believe that some people have this idea that God revealed in the Old Testament is harsh and judgemental, in comparision with God revealed in the New Testament, loving, gracious and forgiving (for example). These people then wrongly conclude that either God changed or that these are different Gods.

I would submit that the reason that people believe that God is changeable would be because they have a selective, or incomplete understanding of God's character, as God has revealed it, in Scripture. This would be true of the annoyingly titled "Red Letter Christians" who don't even seem to give the Lord credit for most of what those red letters say, for instance about judgement and hypocrisy.

God is merciful and gracious, and I can number abundant ways in which he has not repayed me as I deserved for my sinfulness. However, this is a function of His mercy, and His Sovereignty, not my worthiness of His forgiveness. Here is a part of a poem I wrote on reflection on Psalm 103 and Psalm 8.

"Who is man that you should love him?
Care for him in all his plight?
Far your thoughts transcend above Him,
Undeserving of Your sight.

But you are God and you take mind,
Of all our frailties, in your care,
Fatherly to us, you're kind,
Our burdens become yours to bear.

stratagem said...

DJP: There just aren't many of us Popeye fans around anymore.

Whyizzit that every other lame comic book hero has been renovated into a modern, 3-D action hero, but not Wimpy? Is it because there are just too many people these days who look like him, for him to be novel?

When we see Hollyweird re-doing Wimpy, I guess we'll know that they've reached the bottom of the barrel, eh?

SolaMeanie said...

Gilbert..

Wow. And that's a non-Pagitt wow. I am thankful you are okay, and am praying the Lord uses this awful event somehow to bring glory to Himself, plus awaken a few people to their need for Him.

I kind of like what World Magazine does when someone notable passes on. "Man knows not his time." Yesterday was abundant evidence of that.

S.J. Walker said...

gilbert,

Know that you and those you work with along with the families of loss are in my prayers as we speak.

In Christ

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

5 people who never got a "second chance".

Gilbert, what a story! Thanks and praise to God that He delivered some people to have a "second chance".

Your statement above about 5 people who never got a "second chance" reminds me of the DJP blog post about the assassination of Bhutto whose last words were "Long Live Bhutto!"

I don't know you, but I'm glad the Lord kept you safe and out of harm's way.

Peace and blessings.

Christina said...

Now, I don't want to seem insensitive to what's gone on over in Gilbert's neck of the woods. My heart goes out to those affected.

But I'm just wondering where Phil's part 3 on depravity is. What's the deal?

Stefan said...

Gilbert: Thank the Lord that you're okay. May He be a comfort and shining light to those families whose loved ones have been lost, and all those who have been traumatized by this tragedy.

DJP said...

Judah — I don't really know how to help you, because I don't see your point or question. I re-read what I wrote, then I re-read your vigorous tangling of it, and I don't really know what it is you want of me. I'd simply be repeating the Scriptures I cited, and adding to them.

Judah said...

Dan: I'm not sure how much clearer I can be.

I asked you: "Do you think that God is immutable?"

I then asked: "The idea of second chances seems to come from an idea of a mutable God, i.e. that he changes his mind whether or not he is going to extend grace to a person. Does this mean that we only have a pre-determined window of opportunity to be renewed by the Holy Spirit before he gives up on us and moves along to someone else, leaving us in a state where we could not repent even if we wanted to?"

I'm not sure how you could not see a question in those comments.

DJP said...

I didn't think the first question serious. Yes, of course I affirm the Biblical doctrine of the immutability of God.

The rest was the subject of the post. We can never presume that we will have other opportunities than the present. Read the last two sentences, they sum up the whole. Better still, read the whole.

Hope that helps you.