The phrase “God of second chances” is one that I’ve been thinking a bit about lately. Is this really an accurate way to describe our God?
After all, accurately explaining God to others is very important. This is our job, bringing the Gospel to others; introducing people to God and what he has done for us. Even if one ultimately rejects God, we’ve done our job if they have an accurate understanding of God and his works. It’s when people reject a misrepresentation or caricature of God that we really fail.
This is what I wonder about with the term God of second chances; can it paint an incorrect picture of God?
A second chance is something you get when you fail at something but are then given the opportunity to succeed by trying again.
But is this really what God gives us?
Are we like the pardoned prisoner given another chance to be a good citizen and follow the laws from here on out?
In one way this is accurate, we are forgiven of all we’ve done like the pardoned man. But I think this is where the idea of a second chance breaks down.
We aren’t simply forgiven of past sins; we are forgiven of all sins past, present and future. Regarding our standing with God, we are supernaturally given the righteousness of Jesus so that when God the Father views us, he sees Jesus’ sinless life, not our sin-stained deeds. This is the great exchange that occurred at the cross.
If all God gave us was a second chance, we’d still be in a hopeless state. We’d as certainly fail the second time as the first; none of us can live lives which are completely righteous and honouring to God. We cannot live sinlessly, even if given the chance to start again.
For that, I am glad we don’t simply get a second chance; we are given so much more.
This doesn’t mean that this phrase is necessarily wrong, but maybe it’s one we need to be careful with; ensuring we aren’t leaving people with the impression that God is just giving them another shot at earning their way to heaven.