Now that the Easter season has passed, I want to get back to our devotionals on the life of Jonah. If you’ve missed any of the Wednesday’s Word e-mails, you can find them archived here, and if you want to listen to my sermon series, you can find them here.
We’re going to pick up in the third chapter, but today I only want to focus on the first verse: “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.” (Jonah 3:1, ESV)
A second time. A second chance.
The core message of the gospel is a fresh start. Sinners, who have deliberately rebelled against their Creator, have been offered a new beginning, purchased by the blood of Jesus on the Cross.
But the message of the gospel is also one of fresh starts, plural. No matter how many times we stumble, no matter how many times we rebel, no matter how many times we make the selfish choice, God’s grace gives us a fresh start. His mercies really are new every morning.
We serve a God of forgiveness. We serve a God of patience. We serve a God of grace. Our Lord stoops down again and again, not because we're deserving, but because he's loving. And if he weren’t, there wouldn’t be hope for any of us.
I don't know where you are or what you’ve done, but I know this for sure: you can have a fresh start today.
There’s an Enemy who would have you believe that you're stuck and there is no hope for change in your life. But Jesus' spilled blood cries out, “You can turn! I will come to you a second time, and a third, and a fourth, and for however long it takes."
Would you pray this with me today? "Lord, I get it wrong so often; I make so many bad choices. I say I love you and then act out of self-love. I have nothing to offer; I rest in your grace alone. Please help me! Won't you change my fickle heart?’”
And finally, if you're going to be a recipient of such amazing grace, you must also be a distributor of that same grace. When someone sins against you, even for the hundredth time, you are called to forgive as Christ forgives you.
No one gives grace better than the person who knows they need it most, and no one gives second chances more than the person who recognizes how many fresh starts they've been given in Christ.
Paul David Tripp
- In what ways did you give evidence this week that you needed fresh starts?
- Why is it so difficult to give second chances to others?
- Who in your life can you give a fresh start to? Be specific with the person, their area of weakness, and how you will grant them a fresh start.