All of us, if we are honest, know that we have failed the Lord many times over. However, it does not need to define us. We can be forgiven and see God’s grace and mercy. We can repent! That means that we go to Him and confess what we did (He knows anyway but wants to hear it from is). You see He will look at your motive to repent and know if it is genuine. If it is truly genuine then He will forgive you/me. But, if we fail to identify with Jesus and don’t repent…then our sins will stand. Many people have failed miserably and when they repented God forgave them and could then use them in His service. Maybe not the same way…but the right way.
In the Bible, it tells us what Peter said when he denied the Lord, but there is another story in the Bible that even when Jesus was under pressure so strong before the cross…Jesus was faithful in His confession. He confessed that He is the Messiah, the Son of God before the Sanhedrin…knowing what was coming His way and the very death that He would be facing just a few hours later. But then we look back to Peter who failed to confess Jesus even before a lowly servant girl. Why? Most likely out of fear. But not long before Peter said, “You are the Christ of God…but now says, I do not know Him! How many people over the years have said horrible things about Peter? Ever wonder what you would have done in that situation? You will never know for sure.
Then some people said that Peter must not have been saved at the time of his denial. But that isn’t so either. Peter knew he was a sinner and looking back a bit we see where Peter recognized his sinfulness in that first catch of fish when he fell at Jesus’ feet and implored, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” At another point several other disciples had turned away because of what Jesus taught, Jesus asked the twelve if they, too, would turn away, and it was Peter who proclaimed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God”. John 5:68-69 No, I would pretty much believe that Peter knew Jesus and that fear kept Him from telling the truth. For if He had told the truth here He must have been thinking that would happen to him as well. Again, if we were in his shoes what would we have done? No, it didn’t make it right for him to deny our Lord and he learned that quite well.
If you had a coin you could toss in any given situation you are in…how trustworthy would that coin be? As Christians, we need to confess our sins, repent/change our direction, and trust that God will help us get over the finish line. That coin toss doesn’t do it…what does it is faith in the Lord, and dealing with our sins so we can get back to God in good standing. How many times have we all put that off until our situation had gotten worse?
We all need to understand this: Even confessing and repenting doesn’t keep us from many things that go on in this life. It doesn’t stop us from always facing the consequences on this earth for the actions we did. There are consequences for sinning. Let’s say you hurt or killed someone and it was not an accident….shouldn’t you pay your consequences for doing such a thing? The ones you hurt or the family and loved ones of the ones you killed suffered from your actions. This does not mean that God won’t forgive you for what you did. You don’t live in a bubble…sometimes our bubbles break. We should know that in this world we will have tribulations, sorrows, and pains of many kinds, but we know the end of the Bible and, if we are Christian then we are on the winning team. Every time we sin we need to confess it to God and repent/change. However, that doesn’t give us free rein to practice sin or go on repeating it.
Back to Peter. He loved the Lord, spent around three years day and night with Him, listening to Jesus, and seeing all the marvelous things the Lord did. He swore he would even die for him…and then he denied him, not once but 3 times.
We have all had someone we know, and love fall into sin and do some really bad things (in God’s eyes and man’s eyes) Sometimes those sins were long in coming or maybe just on the spur of the moment…wham. People sin and sometimes they don’t even understand why they did whatever “it” was. Sometimes they fear but sin anyway. Sometimes they don’t think they will ever get caught…but God always knows what we do, and why we do it, and unless we confess and repent our sins remain. But then we think of spiritual sin. How many times have we seen someone who leads a church fall into sexual or other sins? They don’t start out doing it but get tempted just like everyone else gets tempted to sin. But…did they go to God and ask for help in not sinning? I never got up in the morning and said to myself…I wonder where I can sin today! I hate sin yet how many times in a lifetime have you and I sinned? More than we can even remember. I failed God and I sure failed myself and others every time I sinned. Sin separates us from God…but sin also separates us from those we deeply love.
Take, for instance, the sin of seduction (men and women) both sexes fall for this one. But how many get up in the morning and say they are going to be unfaithful? How many? Sin begins in the mind and sin needs to be squashed in the mind as well. Sin sexual sins begin in the mind there are a lot of people who sin first by looking at pornography. They then begin to let their minds wander to other people…after all, who will get hurt? Didn’t you promise/by the commitment that you would love your spouse forever? What changed? You fell out of love…NO! Love is a choice. So what if someone else looks good…they will also grow old and wrinkled. The grass gets wilted over time. We can’t judge sins that we won’t stop in our own lives and that includes every pastor who has fallen for this as well. Don’t fall for that person who looks good, smells good, and says the things you want to hear. Go home and fix what you have at home. (I don’t know how many times I have said this or will say it again….you do not ever have to stay in an abusive relationship. The person that is abusing their spouse (male or female) is in the wrong in God’s eyes.
The devil is very good at waiting until an opportune time to drop the bait. Stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don’t fall for the bait.
Next…don’t refuse the teachings of Christ. Even on that last Passover where Jesus instituted communion…Jesus told His disciples what would happen, and that He would be rejected and die. But even then, Peter didn’t want to hear it. Peter tried to rebuke Jesus for saying it and Jesus told Peter “Get behind Me, satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” Mark 8:31-32 Jesus also knew what would happen to Peter and that Peter would fail for a season here. Jesus predicted that Peter would be sifted by Satan, and Peter protested that he would follow Jesus to prison and death (Luke 22:33). Nope! All of us, even if we don’t want to believe it, are capable of awful sins. We also are inclined to take the easy way out from sinning…even if it means lying about what we did. Life is difficult, isn’t it? Does stuff happen? Pain and sorrow come our way. Difficult situations arise and we have to make choices we don’t want to make. Even when we read the Bible…we see and read things we don’t think were right. (such as why did Job have to suffer and lose all his family and the pain he went through) Job, was also allowed to be tested. He came through it…but in our minds, we can wonder why all that happened and we don’t understand it. Like many people, they only read what scriptures they like and ignore the rest, or say it is too hard to understand. All scriptures in the Bible are there for our learning lessons. The first step to a spiritual fall is when you start picking and choosing the Scriptures that tell you about the kind of God you like and ignoring the Scriptures that tell you what God is really like.
The devil is our enemy. Oh, people might hate us, wish us bad, and all that stuff, but our enemy is the devil. We, as Christians, might think we are strong but when stuff comes our way we are like a broken branch on a tree. As I said we all sin, however, we need to judge ourselves, confess our sins, and repent/change. When we do that God will forgive us. But……………………..now, stop doing the same sins over and over again. That shows that you did not mean what you claimed.
So, back to Peter. What changed him that night? He had denied our Lord yet there was a turning point in his behavior. It was when that rooster crowed and it reminded him of what Jesus had said would happen. Can you imagine? The Lord turns his head and looks directly at Peter (Luke recorded this). What a look! I can imagine what Peter was feeling at seeing that look, but what did Jesus see? It was then that not only did Peter remember the Lord’s words, but he has overcome with sorrow in his soul that Peter fell apart and wept. I can’t even imagine the depth of his tears right then. He loved the Lord, was with the Lord for 3 years, and then denied the Lord. Don’t we deny the Lord many times over in our life by our actions and deeds? I don’t want to be the person that denies my Lord ever again. The Lord looked directly at Peter…Oh, that look! Peter’s falling apart was legit. He had godly sorrow so deep and he went and wept bitterly for what he had done. It hurt him to deny the Lord.
When we repent we should remember what God has said to us about sin and sinning. We should be convicted by and of our sins. Conviction acknowledges that God is right and we are wrong. We should have sorrow over our sins and not want to repeat them. We should understand what Jesus did on that cross for each of us, and we should thank Him daily for His abundant grace and mercy for forgiving us, taking our sins to the cross, and going to heaven to prepare a place for us.
After Jesus was resurrected, He saw Peter and restored him. That is amazing! Our Lord and Savior are not only the God of second chances but of many chances. However, He knows our hearts and knows if we are His and will change or keep on doing what we should not do. God allows us to grow and change, but some people never will.
Peter’s denials were different from the people of the world’s ways. They were the failings of a genuine believer who through lack of prayer and faith was unprepared at a point in time to combat the temptations of Satan. Peter was fully restored and because he was restored he greatly worked for Jesus in doing what Jesus gave him to do.
Some people are so close to confessing the truth and walking in God’s ways…but they don’t want to get too close. Why? Maybe some of them think people would not like them if they fully accepted the way of God and stopped doing sin. But….you can’t be lukewarm for the Lord. It is all or nothing or Jesus will spit you out. How many people deny out-and-out lying?
This lesson could be pages and pages and pages long. However, you need to study God’s word to see if I or anyone else is telling you the truth of God’s word.
As for me…I choose to follow the Lord. As many times as I have fallen in my life Jesus was there and came after me. He has given me life and loved me through the pain. I would like to always believe I would never deny Him but what if? What if I/or you acted like Peter? I don’t want to be lost for eternity away from my Lord. I pray for strength, wisdom, hope, faith, and the ability to always stand on Him and His word no matter what. I do not want to hear to depart from Him because He doesn’t know me. I want to hear, “Welcome Home”. May I always follow Him, love Him, and surrender to His will. Now, may the Lord bless you, keep you, and give you His peace. Have a blessed day!