I know I can’t find it.
Somehow, it appears that there’s a verse that says God is not powerful enough to restore someone who accepts Christ as Savior and then sins.
I’ve seen it first hand.
The genesis for my thoughts came from a powerful piece in Christianity Today about Ted Haggard. The article discusses how the author never planned to become friends and care about Haggard but ended up that way. The author then shares how people began to ostracize him because he dared to engage Haggard in a way other than derision, scorn and anger.
Apparently the grace, mercy and forgiveness that Christians spew to those who haven’t accepted Christ end the moment someone says “the Lord is my Savior.”
It really is a disincentive for someone to accept Jesus if…
Pre-Jesus: God can forgive anything you’ve done and restore you to a new life! You’ll be washed white as snow!!!
Post-Jesus: You’re an incredible sinner who blew their chance to serve God and there’s no way he can use a reject like you.
God’s grace is sufficient for everyone.
But you wouldn’t know it by many Christians.
Did you know the man still gets death threats?
Yes. ”Good Christian people” have threatened to kill him because he sinned.
Now, I’ve seen many people debate the “level” of his sin or because he committed sexual sins that he’s permanently barred from serving God again. He was divorced and remarried so he can’t serve.
Here’s the thing…regardless of what you feel about Jim Bakker personally…God can restore him. I’ve seen the things happening down at Morningside where he films his show and I’ve seen people accept Christ. I’ve seen people repent of sins and turn their lives around. I’ve seen and spoken to people who have seen the Bible in a new way and have shown compassion and mercy and practical help to people in need because of something they heard from a sermon taught by Jim Bakker.
God has restored the man into a position where he is presenting the truth on a worldwide scale.
Now, we can nit pick his show and whether he talks too much about survivalism vs. Christ. Everyone will have an opinion there and I’m not about to debate you on what you feel about that point. What I do know is that I saw Christ celebrated, worshipped and held up as the only way to eternal life. As the model for all of us to live. No matter the sins that Jim Bakker committed in the past, he repented of them and God restored him.
But I know people that profess to be Christians who go out of their way to degrade him. To insult him. To smear him. Hoping and praying that he will fall again and be humiliated and disgraced. That he will never be forgiven by God for what he had done.
I know in my life I’ve had people who have held me up for scorn because of sins in my life. They reveled in the fact they could make themselves feel superior and more holy by pointing me out as the “horrible sinner.” They put targets on your back. They may not ask you to leave the church but you know you’re always being watched and people are waiting for the chance to condemn you.
Look, none of us are perfect. We’re ALL going to sin. And the important thing is that grace didn’t stop at the cross. Grace is always there for those who truly repent and change their lives.
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. (Romans 3:10-11 ESV)
Bakker and Haggard have repented of their past. Just because some Christians may not want to accept it doesn’t mean it’s not so. And do they sin now? Sure. As much as you or I. And the God who forgives them is the same God who forgives us.
If someone repents of sin and changes their ways to not be in violation of God’s teachings and His Scriptures then we have no grounds to hold them to some kind of elevated level of account where they have to earn grace. It’s time for us to stop dismissing the sinful attitudes toward fallen brothers and sisters desperately seeking restoration after repentance with a joking “well, you know the church shoots it’s wounded.” That joke is only said because we know it to be true.
And it’s time to end the executions.
(Note before the inevitable responses…I’m talking about people who repent being given the grace and opportunity for restoration. Not the people who continue in sinful ways completely unrepentant. When you can’t prove that someone’s not repentant, you have no position to deny them grace.)