Friday, September 16, 2016

Starting Over

One of my favorite passages in the Bible comes, believe it or not, from the book of Leviticus. Leviticus is a book of laws in the Old Testament. When people try and start reading through the Bible, they usually quit somewhere in Leviticus. 

Leviticus 25 speaks to a holiday that God wanted instituted among his people. It was called the Year of Jubilee. Every fifty years, according to this law, there was a reset. All debt was forgiven. Family land that had to be sold went back to the original owners. Slaves were set free from the bondage they had sold themselves into. Everyone got a new start.

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I don’t know about you, but I find myself needing a new start over and over and over again. I try to be more disciplined in my diet and exercise. Then I get busy with other things, and I have to start over again. I try to be a good friend, but then I disappoint them. I want to be a good husband and father, but I let my wife and kids down. I try to preach good sermons, but some of them fall flat. Over and over again, I need a second chance.

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Ultimately, this opportunity for second, third and fourth chances is what Christianity is all about. The unexpected, undeserved gift of a second chance is what the Bible calls GRACE.

When people put their faith in Christ, and receive the gift of salvation that Jesus offers, they receive grace, a second chance, a new start. Jesus gives believers “new life” through his grace.

Not only do we experience salvation by grace and inherit eternal life, each day is a gift, and each moment is a new start. Our growth in Christlikeness is a gift. Our ability to love and be compassionate is a gift. Each new day, I am a beginner in the journey of faith, and it is only by Christ’s good gift that I can live with hope, and live like Jesus asks me to. I need Jesus to save me, and I need Jesus to help me live day to day.

So, then, as a person who is given second chances, I am asked to offer second chances to others on Jesus’ behalf as well. I am called to choose forgiveness over taking offense. I am asked to serve others and help them out when they are down, even if they don’t appear to be that deserving of the love and support.
Accept grace. Live grace. Share grace. Take a do-over. Offer a second chance to others.

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