Second Chances

Christmas is the celebration of the Gift of abundant and eternal life through Christ Jesus and the escape of believers from God’s righteous judgment. In the most amazing manner, the baby Jesus entered the world so that redemption would be offered and that we would enjoy many second chances in our lifetimes to believe the Christmas miracle – to believe in the Son of God, our Redeemer.

But, we are very good at ignoring second chances. We let ourselves forget the true Christmas story. We endure so many narratives these days that we often drown in an ocean of falsehoods. It is difficult to swim against the powerful tide of our irreverent culture. If I’ve learned anything from God’s enduring Word, it is that there is still unlimited mercy offered by God. He is faithful to give us so many opportunities to turn away from darkness and believe in Him. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we must block out the noise of the godless and give ear to God’s truth this Christmas and always.

The secondary tidal wave that pulls down on Truth-believers is a kind of minimalism – the temptation to simply succumb to the crushing wall of culture that rebels against the Holy God of the universe, even while still believing in Him. It is the temptation to have minimal or no redemptive influence in the world. Genesis 18 and 19 records the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If you know the story, then you might identify with Lot. (Please don’t bristle at such a parallel). There is truly “a lot of Lot” in all of us.

In the surrounding Genesis story, God gives multiple opportunities for Lot’s community to repent before the pronouncement of final judgment. The same is true today. The true Christmas narrative is surely a story of second chances. We stand at the same crossroads, belief or unbelief, redeeming influence or wasted legacy. Lot is a sad example of a believer characterized by the “everlasting reality of a wasted life.” Minimal influence. So distracted by the world, so distracted by the culture, so absorbed by the eternally insignificant that Lot exercised no redeeming influence among his family or friends.

Although God preserved Lot (sigh of relief), Christmas reminds me that my days as a believer can either be fruitful or unimaginably fruitless. I am reminded that my expression of love for God involves the valuable act of obedience. The valuable act of being prepared for eternity with Him. The valuable act of being a recipient of His preparation of me for glory. I should not waste another second on earth by not studying and not taking to heart His Word, or not taking on His attitude toward others, or not taking on His heart to spread His gospel, or not taking on His heart to save.

Christmas is the story of our Redeemer. As I ponder the second chance I’ve been given today, I pray that Jesus Christ removes the legacy of Lot from my life so that I really can be a believer who exercises a redeeming influence around me. I pray that I don’t get comfortable with marginal belief and no interest in heart transformation. I pray that I don’t let culture win and thereby become a reflection of culture – self-centered, rude, all about comfort, all about self-preservation, all about recognition, all about hating and judging…

Christmas is a heart check. It is a call to make use of another second chance to move away from minimalism in faith and toward joining God in His redemptive work.

Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope — the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.”

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