As I think back to my childhood memories, they would not be complete without those days of activity in and around the back yard. The boys in my neighborhood, Larry and Terry and a few others from further down the road, would often join my brother, Dennis, and I for an intense game of Wiffleball, kickball, or some full-contact, tackle football.
Those moments seem frozen in time, as I stop to consider all the reasons for a “do-over”. You know, those moments when you just need a second chance. Those moments when you strike out, and want another chance. Those moments when a bug lands in your eye, so you wanted a re-kick. Larry and I, the two oldest boys, were masters at creating reasons for a “do-over”. However, we had little grace for the younger boys, and their reasons were usually not acceptable in our eyes. Therefore, those who insisted upon grace for themselves were not willing to give it to those who needed it most.
Far too often that is also true in Christianity. We tend to have high expectations of others, while forgetting from whence we came. We look at a person early in his walk with Christ, and expect the maturity of a believer twice his spiritual age, thus not willing to give grace when needed. We need to know and remember who we are, just as our Creator does as mentioned by the Psalmist in Psalm 103:14, “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
Many Christians are quick to judge, quick to refuse a “do-over” to the younger member of God’s family. Listen to the words penned by the apostle Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This verse is a favorite with those who have recently been born again, and is often quoted in personal testimonies. It is also a favorite of those who wish to point a finger, when in actuality grace is needed.
The words in Christ are the key in this passage. The verse does not describe a believer’s practice but rather his position. As Christians, we often expect new believers to immediately change completely. Yet, we sit back and do nothing to aid in their discipleship which will lead them to living a life in Christ!
I have been a Christian since 1976. I was gloriously saved as an eleven year old boy. I wish I could tell you that I have arrived as a Christian and that I never fall back. It just simply is not true…not for me and not for anyone. However, as I progress in the Christian life, I desire that my practice may increasingly correspond to my position as a believer. It will happen one day, when the Lord Jesus returns, and the two will be in perfect agreement and harmony.
One of my favorite toys as a kid was the old-fashioned Etch-A-Sketch. I admit that I couldn’t draw anything fancy, but I loved how one could easily start a new drawing. If you messed up, all you had to do was give it a little shake, and start all over again. It took no time at all, and there was no memory of the former blunder.
This is exactly what Paul is referring to in our passage. God can give us a little shake (or perhaps a big shake) and we get to start all over again. God will give us a “do-over”! And we shouldn’t just allow “do-overs” for ourselves; but rather, it is available to all! What does Paul say in the next verse?
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18.) The word reconciliation means to be restored to a right relationship. The word ministry means a service of aid or relief. What a ministry! What a privilege to spread the word to others that they can have a “do-over”!
In Reformers Unanimous, that is exactly what we do. As we learn to live our lives in practice to match our position, we disciple others to do the same. Join us as we begin a new year helping others restore a right relationship with their Creator. Stop focusing on the failures of others and get busy in discipleship!