The God of New Beginnings
Marveling At God’s Ability To Forgive
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (New International Version)
I believe our God is the God of new beginnings, and I also believe there’s an ongoing theme in the scriptures regarding how God’s mercy and grace allow us to start over, even after great failures and setbacks.
Take King David, for example. David’s story is one of the most beautiful and inspiring stories in the Bible. Of course, we all know how it started… the story of David and Goliath is well known. Yet, although David started out upright and in the full favor of God, later in his life we would see him mess up in some pretty severe ways.
But as a friend of mine once said, no one was better at repentance than David. Reading the Psalms, I wonder at how many times David fell on his face, asking God for forgiveness for some sin he had committed. And, I marvel at how every time, God forgave him and restored him; and this was long before Christ died for our sins!
Or, take the story of Peter, the apostle. Peter was known to be loud and boastful, outspoken and always putting his foot in his mouth. Yet, Christ saw something within Peter that he knew was solid as stone… or at least, that would be in years to come.
18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Matthew 16:18 (New International Version)
As we all know, Peter denied Christ three times before the crucifixion. I believe that although Christ knew he would, it still must have broken His heart to hear His good friend say he didn’t know Him.
But once again, after the resurrection we see that Christ restores Peter in one of the most powerful scenes from the New Testament:
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” – John 21 (New International Version)
How very interesting that Peter denied Christ three times, and Christ restores him three times. I wonder if this is more than symbolic, but it certainly points to the fact that no matter how many times we fall, no matter how many times we fail, Christ is willing to forgive us and restore us anew.
When I mess up, I try to remember that it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes it takes me a while to seek God’s forgiveness, whether it’s out of shame over what I’ve done, or being too proud to admit I’m wrong. But every time, every single time, God is willing to forgive and restore me, an expression of a love that is so mighty it is beyond measure or comprehension.
And so I continue to be amazed at the everlasting mercy and forgiveness of Christ our Lord; that He would care for us so much He would die for our sins, and continue to express His divine love daily by restoring us with His forgiveness. What a beautiful and amazing love it is to be cherished so by the eternal God.