A New Beginning and a Strong Ending

One of the things we come to understand about God is that due to grace we can begin again. We can be made new by our Creator. He can restore that which was destroyed, replace that which was lost, rebuild that which has crumbled.

  And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD. – Genesis 4:25-26, ESV

We don’t know how many sons and daughters Adam and Eve had. We are only left with the names of 3 of them: Abel, Cain, and Seth. Abel followed after God and we saw this because of his choice of offering. Cain, while he knew God enough to have a conversation with God and to be warned by God, was not a follower of God. It could be said he knew the ways of God but the ways of God were not in him. Cain slew Abel but God gave Adam and Eve another son. Eve recognized this and called him Seth, acknowledging God for him. Seth had a son, Enosh, and through that line we see that men began to call upon the Lord once again. While Cain sowed sin and wickedness and his line was known for it, the line of Seth would eventually produce the one who we can be reborn in, Jesus.

God is serious about purity. He is dead set against sin. He expects righteousness and is not satisfied with anything less. We should not fool ourselves into believing otherwise. We should not believe that we have done enough, we’re good enough, or that our sacrifices are enough. They are not. It doesn’t matter whether we do one great thing that helps a bunch of people or a bunch of small things that no one notices. That doesn’t make us righteous. That doesn’t fix things that a single sin causes. We need a new beginning. That only comes from Jesus. This is why David offered these words:

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

– Psalm 51:7-12, ESV

David turned to the only one who could redeem him: God. David had sinned and the realization of that sin broke him. Therefore, he turned to God in repentance. He asked God to purge him, to wash him, to create a clean heart, to renew a right spirit, to restore him, and to uphold him. This is what God is looking for when we come to realize we’ve sinned. Yes, Jesus covers all of our sins. He is the one and only sacrifice that is needed. Yes, Jesus alone is sufficient. But God still expects for sin to so hammer us when we realize what we’ve done that we turn back and seek His face and ask His forgiveness for them. And each time He offers us a new beginning. He doesn’t usually remove the consequences of the sin. But He does remove the barriers between us and Him, He restores the fellowship we’ve broken, and He sets us back up with the promise that He’ll never depart from us and will never forsake us. It’s up to us to turn back to Him. It’s up to us to desire Him, to love Him, to want to bring Him glory, even as we count down our last days. He wants us to and expects us to finish strong.

Thus all the days of Methuselah were 969 years, and he died.  – Genesis 5:27, ESV

Embedded in the genealogy in Genesis 5 is this simple statement. If you work out the years, Methuselah died the year of the Great Flood. Now we’re not told whether he died before it or in it, but it should cause us to reflect what if it was in it? That would mean he didn’t have favor with God. That would mean he didn’t follow after God. Otherwise God would have preserved him like Noah and Noah’s family was preserved. Noah was no shining example of purity, either, but he was obedient. That’s what God wanted. With Methuselah, we don’t know. But we suspect that he didn’t finish strong. It’s certainly a reminder to us that how we finish is up to us. Will we be faithful, striving to do His will until our dying breath? Or will we become complacent at some point, figuring we’ve done enough for God? We may not say it like that, but that’s really what we’re doing and believing. God put Himself up on the Cross. We can never do enough for Him. So let’s not fool ourselves or let our hearts be deceived.

If you know there is unconfessed sin in your life today, repent of it. He will renew you. He will create in you a clean heart once again. He will restore to you the joy of your salvation and uphold you. That is His promise. Yes, you will have to face the consequences of that sin, but there will no longer be distance between you and God because of the sin. And as you’re walking your walk with Jesus today, consider how you might bring Him glory. It’s not over until He calls us home. Let’s finish strong, even if that may be years and years down the road. Let’s finish strong because we started strong, we keep pushing ourselves to run strong, when we stumble we get back and run strongly again, and through that effort we know and desire to complete it all strongly. That will be pleasing to God.

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