Most of us are aware of some of the details of Peter’s life. Specifically, his denials of Jesus. It would be easy and logical to just assume that, after such a disgrace, he lived out the rest of his life in guilt and shame.
But when you read through the New Testament it’s hard to believe that the Peter of Acts was the same Peter in the gospels. They seemed to be two different people. When I read the letters Peter had written, I was surprised that he didn’t mention — not even once — the time he denied Christ.
He didn’t seem to be a man overcome with guilt. Instead he spoke with authority and confidence. He told his readers to practice self-control, to be holy, to avoid hypocrisy, and to live for God. I wondered: How can he write with such boldness when he failed so publicly?
There’s only one reason. Peter experienced the restoring grace of God in his life. He found out what it truly, truly means to have your slate wiped clean and to be given another chance.
The critics of Peter could have said, “This man has no place in the ministry. Look at his history. He’s impulsive. He has a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Jesus even called him ‘Satan’ once. He made a fool of himself when he tried to walk on water. He violently attacked a soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane. Worst of all, he denied Jesus before he abandoned him. This guy has been trouble since Day One. He doesn’t deserve to be called a Christian, let alone be a leader in the church.”
Though everything these hypothetical critics said is true, one fact that negates it all: the restoring power of the grace of God. No matter how far you have fallen, you are never too far down to be picked up and cleaned up and given a new start.
You may feel like your past excludes you from any hope of having a good life … but the restoring power of God’s grace changes that. God is the God of the second chance.