Pastor Dana Jumper's Pastoral Perspective
I recently attended a weekend spiritual retreat, and one of the speakers said something like “Our God is a Do-Over God!” That phrase is driving me crazy! It keeps playing in my head over and over, like a popular song we might hear on the radio. That phrase has forced me to think more deeply about my relationship with God.
As I began to contemplate the meaning of the phrase, I kept going back to that word “grace.” God’s unconditional love and free gift that is ours if we accept what God is offering us. What’s wrong with getting something for free? And unconditional — to boot!
What this means is that God’s love (grace) is bigger than anything we can ever hope to achieve. When we talk about God’s grace — unconditional love for us — we are saying that God, who made all of us in His image — accepts us as we are. Worts and All! It doesn’t matter what we have done, what has been done to us, where we have gone, what is going on right now in our lives, God has a plan for us and He wants to give us a relationship of love that know no bounds.
The prophet Jeremiah says in Chapter 29 verse 11 (NKJV), “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.”
Does this sound like a God who would throw you aside or not listen to you or help you? Sometime today read the 29th chapter of Jeremiah to find out more.
The more I study the different forms of Grace, I am always awed by the fact that God knew me even before I was born and is always calling me into a relationship with Him. That’s prevenient grace — the grace that goes before us to draw us to Him.
Then comes justifying grace — the love and forgiveness that “makes us right” with God. No matter the circumstances of our lives, God forgives us; i.e. humanity sins and God forgive us, giving us another chance.
That’s a Do-Over God!
Then we have sanctifying grace — the grace that restores our relationship with God. Anyone can have a new life when we make God our first priority. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (she) is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”
You see, God is working in you to perfect you in the image of God.
Beware! Growing in faith and grace and relationship with God is a life-long process and one that helps equip us to open ourselves to accept Grace.
But also beware! There are obstacles along the way that cause us to sin — that which separates us from God’s grace. I often use the illustration of a telephone chord that has been cut. When we sin, that phone line between us and God is cut, and only by asking forgiveness can the line be restored. There again — is our Do-Over God, who forgives us and accepts us.
Guess I’m getting a bit carried away with John Wesley’s idea of grace, but I can’t help it. Not now. Not now when I’ve accepted this new title for God — Do-Over.
If you have not received or accepted that free gift God has for you, talk to your pastor. He or she may have different ideas about grace than I do, but Wesley was not far off on his ideas.
Neither am I! The longer I serve God, the more convinced I am that I’ve had that phrase in the back of my mind all the time, but never really thought about it until now. Isn’t that a hoot!