I made a mistake once. It was a big one, one that made me upset. My husband comforted me with just two words: “Remember Peter.” As soon as he said it, my mind immediately went back to the time in the Bible where Jesus gave Peter a second chance.
Peter had made a big mistake too. It was bigger than the one I had made, but it wasn’t too big for Jesus to forgive. That’s because God gives us second chances in life.
There are many Bible verses about second chances because the Bible is full of stories about real people. People like me, and people like you, who need a second chance in life from time to time.
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Does God Give Second Chances?
How can we be sure that God will give us a second chance when we need one? Opening God’s Word and reading is all it takes to find many examples of second chances in the Bible.
Jonah is the perfect example of this. He made a huge mistake when he decided to run away from God’s will. Ending up in the belly of that whale could have ended so much worse for him. I can’t begin to imagine what was going through his mind as he sat in those disgusting conditions for three whole days. He certainly had time to think about his decision.
Is it any surprise that when he was given another opportunity, he lost no time obeying God, fulfilling the mission he had refused to go on before?
And isn’t it wonderful that because of the second chance Jonah was given, God gave the people of Nineveh one too? (Jonah 1-3)
Peter is another powerful example of second chances in the Bible. He literally denied that he even knew Jesus! And he did it three times! (John 18:15-27) Can you imagine the immediate remorse that he felt when he came face to face with the Lord, and realized the mistake he had made?
He must have felt a suffocating mixture of sorrow and regret. And I can’t even imagine the weight of shame he bore. Yet Jesus chose Peter, the man who had denied him three times, to help establish His church.
Bible Verses About Second Chances
There are many stories of God giving second chances in the Bible. He uses the accounts of people who sinned just like we all do to remind us that not only will He give us second chances, but He expects us to extend that same grace to others.
Lamentations 3:21-23 – “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
These are truly encouraging Bible verses about second chances. God is reminding us that He will give all of us mercy each and every day. It’s a rare day that I don’t need forgiveness. In fact, I’m not so sure there has ever been a day I didn’t need it. Even if I haven’t said or done anything wrong, my thoughts often betray me.
I am called to be like Jesus, yet I fall short constantly. God, with merciful grace, gives me, and you, a new chance every single day.
2 Samuel 12:13 – “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.”
David finds out how deep God’s forgiveness is toward him. He had committed a terrible sin, one that many of us might be reluctant to forgive. God, in His mercy, forgave David, withholding punishment from him.
Like with David, God sees our sin and is willing to forgive us and give us a second chance even when we find it hard to forgive ourselves.
Genesis 45:15a – “Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them…”
If ever a man had a right to withhold forgiveness from others, it would be Joseph. He was in a position of great authority over his brothers, having the power to punish them for all they had done to him, yet despite all they put him through, he made the choice to give each of them a second chance.
Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is offering a second chance to those who have hurt us. Joseph is the perfect example of how to give second chances to others no matter what they have done to us.
Matthew 18:21-22 – “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
In this conversation between Jesus and Peter, we’re given the answer about how often we should extend second chances to others. When asked about forgiveness, Jesus gave a numerical answer to the question, reminding us that we can never give enough second chances.
Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus is our ultimate example of forgiveness because He never did anything wrong, yet He was willing to bear the punishment for the sins of everyone. He chose to give His life so that we all could have the most important second chance of all.
Hebrews 9:27 – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
God is waiting patiently for sinners to come to Him in repentance and faith. (2 Peter 3:9) But one day there will be no more second chances given to those who never admit their need of Jesus and believe on Him as the only One who can save them.
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Do People Deserve Second Chances?
There are so many scriptures about second chances in the Word of God. He has been gracious to show us numerous examples of His mercy and grace in the lives of those who lived before us. People who, like us, made some serious mistakes, yet God chose to not leave them in their mistakes, choosing instead to give them a second chance.
God, in His Word, shows us how we are to love others. Jesus is our ultimate example of how to serve others, putting their needs above our own. This attitude of a servant carries with it the responsibility to give second chances to others, whether we feel they deserve it, or not.
After all, if we treat others the way we want to be treated as we are told in Matthew 7:12, the way God has treated us, we cannot help but fulfill what we have been told in the scriptures about second chances.
Our salvation exists because of forgiveness. In John 3:16, we learn that God gave us His Son for the purpose of forgiving us of our sin. Jesus gave us the best second chance anyone could possibly receive. How then can we not forgive others, blessing them with second chances in life?
If we love God and truly love others the way Jesus does, then not only will we give second chances to others, but we will grow to the point where we aren’t easily offended, where giving them a second chance is second nature to us.
Mark 12:31 reminds us that we are to love others the same as we love ourselves. This type of love lends itself easily to forgiveness, and true forgiveness is when you don’t remember transgressions.
After all, we are undeserving of the grace Christ shows us. How can we possibly withhold such grace from others?
There are many scriptures about second chances found in the Bible. These are just a few. God grants us second chances all day every day. And has given us the greatest second chance of all when He saved our souls. Because He forgives us, we ought to forgive and grant second chances to others.
About the Author – Sandy Brannan