Forgiven and Restored
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Have you ever wondered if a past mistake means God can no longer use you? Have you ever been totally convinced this is true? If so, you have fallen prey to one of Satan's favorite lies ... that your sin is too great to overcome.
The story of how the Apostle Peter's faith crumbled when Jesus was arrested and taken to be crucified is proof that this is never the case.
Peter had declared that he would never leave Jesus. But Jesus knew better and prophesied that this disciple would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. As Jesus was taken away to be crucified, Peter said he didn't know Him. Three times he claimed to have nothing to do with Jesus. Then, a rooster crowed, calling attention to this overwhelming failure.
If any sin would disqualify a disciple from ministry, surely denying Christ would top the list. Luke 22:62 says Peter wept bitterly when he realized what he had done.
Now, the sacrifice of our Savior is enough to cover every sin. However, we know sin can have serious consequences. So, could Peter be completely restored to being a disciple of Christ? Would he be able to preach and teach others after what he had done?
After His resurrection, Jesus sought Peter out. We read in John 21:15-17 that, when He found him, He had a question for Peter. Jesus asked, "Peter, do you love me?" Three times He asked Peter this question, and three times Peter affirmed his love for Jesus. And each time, Jesus had a response: "Feed my lambs” … “Take care of my sheep” … “Feed my sheep” (NLT).
In that exchange, Jesus was once again calling Peter to His service. He was saying to Peter, "You are totally restored. Now, go preach the Gospel and make disciples." This was a new day and Peter's past failure no longer mattered.
According to Hebrews 12:15, there is only one failure we need to fear: Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.
Jesus made everything new by His willing sacrifice for each of us. We can always be forgiven, and like Peter, we can be free from our past. With repentance, our sins are wiped clean and we have a new beginning. Lamentations 3:23 tells us that His mercies are new every morning.
So, let's give Him praise today—because what we did yesterday, last week, or 20 years ago doesn't matter anymore. Now, every day brings a new opportunity for us to begin again.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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