Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Comeback God

“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

Some of us who were watching football one Monday might this season were privileged to witness one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. The Denver Broncos were down 24points at halftime, but when the final gun sounded the Broncos had orchestrated a complete turnaround and came back to win this contest by a final score of 35 to 24. It wasn’t not only an offensive comeback but even the defense turned their game around to complete the final two quarters with a shutout. But as great as this comeback was, it still was not the “greatest” comeback ever.

Like the Broncos on that Monday night, many souls are headed in the wrong direction. Many in this world live as a servant to sin, which allows them to be led to defeat, aka death. The goal is victory which is found only in life. But life in this case is not just the existence in this world but it is living in God’s grace. Jesus is the only One who can give us the power to live in this fashion: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Jesus came to this world to help us make a comeback: “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). God’s love reveals His game plan for victory and any willing soul can find their way to that victory.

One amazing comeback revealed to us in Scripture is in the life of Saul. Saul was a man of great education which gave him amazing power. He was next in line for the office of Pharisee, which came by his knowledge of the Scriptures. But even though he knew the Scriptures, he sorrowfully didn’t know them in the Spirit of God. So, one can assume that there had to be a “halftime” in the life of Saul where adjustments had to be made. This turnaround was such an impact in revealing to us God’s grace that Luke recorded it three times in the book of Acts: “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads’” (Acts 9:14). This same confrontation with Saul and Jesus is revealed in Acts 22 and 26 also. Saul was once on the wrong team headed in the wrong direction. But Jesus came into his life and taught him how to make a comeback (Acts 9:6). Further reading will reveal that Saul was baptized for the forgiveness of his sins and was given a new name, Paul, in which he made a comeback and served the Lord with all his might: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6). Now that is truly an amazing comeback.

Peter is another great life that revealed a complete comeback. It is easy for us to relate to Peter because we know he spoke from the heart but many times he acted through the flesh. He once told the Christ that he would die before he would allow anything to happen to His Lord which drew out an unexpected response from Jesus: “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's’” (Matthew 16:23). The comeback for Peter came in the book of Acts also, in chapter 2, where he delivered one of the most powerful sermons of all time. Peter’s comeback can be attributed to his receiving God’s Spirit (Acts 2:4). Peter went on to do great things for the Lord as an author, a teacher and a preacher. All of us are like Peter and Paul in the sense that we are all heading for defeat but we can make a comeback by repenting and receiving the Lord’s Spirit.

In His Grace,

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