Can I get a do-over?

The kids and I have been watching American Ninja Warrior on T.V. lately. It is a game show where competitors run an obstacle course. Those who finish, or get the furthest, and in the shortest amount of time, go on to the next round. In the last episode we watched, the two fastest finishers got to compete against each other for the prize of a do-over in the finals. The do-over is pretty much what it sounds like; if the person with a do-over messes up and falls on an obstacle, he gets to try it again.

 I like do-overs. Who doesn’t? Especially when it comes to matters of the soul. We serve a God of second chances. He loves us so much that He gave His Son to die on the cross so that I can be forgiven of my sins. When I became a Christian, God gave me a do-over. I was born again and started my life over. He gives everyone who will believe and obey Christ the opportunity to have a new start.

 It would be great if I never sinned again after becoming a Christian, but I have. The great news is that, as long as I continue serving the Lord and do my best to please Him, Christ’s blood continues to cleanse me of my sins (1 Jn 1:7). In fact, He does that for every true believer who is willing to repent and confess his sins (v. 9). And we have an Advocate, Christ, who, like our lawyer, pleads our case before the Father (2:1). We are so blessed!

Unfortunately, though, there are no do-overs beyond the grave. If a person does not accept God’s gracious offer of pardon before he dies, it is too late; his eternal fate is sealed. The dead cannot repent and escape sin’s consequences at that point. The rich man, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, for example, could not pass from the place of torment (where he was) to Paradise (were Lazarus was) when he died, because of the “great gulf fixed” between the two places (Lk 16:26 NKJV). The doctrine of purgatory is nowhere found in the Bible. Hebrews 9:27 says: “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” After death, comes judgement. That’s it.

How many people on death row, I wonder, wish they could have a second chance? What they wouldn’t give to go back and do things differently! Is there something in your life that you have done that you would give anything to be able to go back and do it differently? Have you ever felt the terrible regret of a mistake? If we are not ready, spiritually, when we leave this life, that is something that will be felt for the rest of eternity! Please, reader, obey the Gospel plan of salvation before it is too late!

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