When We Fail (Part Two)

Now, let us consider another of God’s great men: Peter! Here is a burly fisherman, energetic, fast-acting, impulsive. When Jesus called him to be a “fisher of men” Peter answered the call without hesitation. He spent three years of his life walking the rocky hills of Israel and sitting at the feet of Jesus. On a quiet evening in Galilee with only five loaves of bread and two fish in His larder Jesus fed 5,000 plus people. Everyone was amazed, including Peter. The next day the crowds came back to see what new, exciting thing they might witness or partake in. But wait, no miracle, only Jesus teaching the crowd about Him being the Bread of Life. They listened as Jesus said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:54 NASB) The scripture tells us there were many Jews there that day, disciples of Jesus who had been following Him, but not any more. They complained that His teachings were too tough and many left. Jesus turned to His twelve and asked, “Will you also go away?” Then Peter answered with the most famous and correct answer of all time: “ Lord,to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69) Peter set the example for us to proclaim the Sonship of Jesus, to trust Him, to follow Him through thick and thin until our final breath is taken! Well, he did, didn’t he?

Guilt

It was the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. He celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples and instituted the Lord’s Supper fullling the teaching of John 6:54 concerning His body and blood. It was at that Passover meal that Judas, as the betrayer of Jesus, was exposed. It was here that Peter declared “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And Jesus said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”(Luke 22:33-34) Before another day had passed Peter HAD denied Jesus three times even swearing that he did not know that man! And the rooster crowed! Peter wept!

Try as we may may we cannot understand the guilt Peter felt at that moment and for those terrible three days to follow! He must have remembered over and over his arrogant words of faithfulness….and his sniveling oaths of denial….and he must have wept torrents of tears in shame and disgust because of his weakness and fear, Peter must have wondered over and over if he could ever be forgiven.

Just as He Said

On Sunday following the crucifixion, Mary Magadene and some other women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. There they found the tomb open, the the huge stone rolled away. What could this mean? They must have entered the tomb with fear and trembling only to find Jesus gone and a man in white waiting for them. The angel assured them that Jesus had risen from the dead, just as He said He would and go, “tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’“ (Mark 16:7) Jesus, Who knows the hearts of all of us, reached out in a special way to Peter. Herein is the bottom line: When we do wrong, admit it, repent and work to never do it again!

Hope of Forgiveness

When we fail at living a godly, righteous life, is there hope of forgiveness? Absolutely! It is the VERY REASON God sent Jesus, the VERY REASON Jesus obeyed, that we might have forgiveness of our sins and be able to walk in a sweet relationship with God and Jesus! There is a prevalent belief and teaching that once we have become a child of God, nothing can separate us from God’s love and acceptance….not outward forces pressing in on us or our own sins no matter what they are or what our state of mind. This view undoubtedly comes from Romans 8, and it IS true that nothing can separate us from God except….ourselves. God has granted us the protection and promise that as long as we are faithful in devotion and obedience to Him, no outward force can touch our relationship. ONLY if WE CHOOSE to live an unrepentant sinful life and ignore God’s will and way can we break that bond. (Hebrews 6) The more one studies God’s Word the more we understand that God has provided every need for us to walk faithfully and victoriously with Him and Jesus throughout our earthly journey and to someday go Home forever because “the Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)

Never Take any Sin Lightly

One final thought, dear grandchildren: NEVER take any sin lightly! Jesus said: “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:48) The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of God, reminds us that we, WE, are the TEMPLE OF GOD, and as such we must not go on living a sinful life after we become a Christian. We are spiritually born into a new life and that requires change. Being a child of God is serious business: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1

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When we mess up is there hope for forgiveness? Yes! And then when we do wrong, admit it, repent, and work to never do it again!

The choice is always ours!