Home > Uncategorized > God Is Not a God of Second Chances: The Church & Formerly Incarcerated Persons

If we really believe in the transformation of the gospel—that any life can be saved and changed—we cannot say to someone, “You are not welcome here.”

When you read the title, you may have thought, You’re wrong—God is a god of second chances. There are many examples in the Bible of when God gave people second chances. If the Bible had a hall of shame, we would find many of the same names that we find in Hebrews 11 (often known the “hall of faith”).

Noah was found drunk by his sons; Abraham trafficked his wife, Sarah; Moses murdered an Egyptian; Rahab committed prostitution; and David hired someone for murder and committed adultery. Then there are those in the New Testament: Zaccheaus, the tax collector, who overtaxed people out of personal greed, yet was accepted by Jesus prior to his conversion; and Peter, who denied Christ three times.

Yet, in spite of their illegal and immoral behavior, God gave them a second chance. They were repentant and went on to be faithful servants of God. But is it really God giving them a second chance to make good choices, and if they mess up again, he is done with them? Or is it God’s grace being poured out in an attempt to restore their relationship with God and others?

Isn’t grace what differentiates the Christian faith from other religions which focus on moral behavior or good works? Tim Keller states,

Christ’s grace is not just a second chance. Christ’s grace is NOT one more chance to redeem yourself. It is not one more chance to be a good moral person. The grace of Jesus Christ is NOT to appear before us and say look at me I’m honest, I’m compassionate, I’m generous, I have a servant heart, live like me and you can redeem yourself. Jesus doesn’t come and say, look at me. Be as generous, caring and compassionate as me. If Jesus Christ came like that, if he came to be …

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