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Can I Come Back?

By David Jeffers

There is no way that God would ever take me back after all the evil I have done! There is no way that God would ever forgive someone like me and allow me to enter Heaven! I have done too many bad things in my life to ever deserve Godís forgiveness. My sins are too great to allow me to enter into the presence of God. Iíd be afraid to enter a church; it would probably fall in on me. Do any of you feel this way? I know I have before. I was sure that I had committed too many sins to ever be allowed back into the presence of God. I knew that I had been saved and that I still loved Jesus, but I was afraid that my backsliding was so great that I could never return to the joy of salvation that King David describes in Psalm 51. I knew that I wanted to come back, but could I really come back to Christ? Like many of you, I had doubts and fears about Godís ability to forgive. I also didn't really understand that my sin was caused by my disobedience to Godís word. Letís turn to the Bible to find out about disobedience.

4 Biblical Cases of Disobedience

King David

The first and most famous Biblical case of disobedience is that of King David and Bathsheba. I want to talk about David because many people believe that only the most depraved and lowly types of people commit sin. David was the most powerful king to ever live. He was fearless and a man after Godís own heart. But like the rest of us, he was a sinner. He struggled with a besetting sin that he was unable to control until he repented of it and turned it over to God.

If you havenít already read the 11th and 12th chapters of 2 Samuel, please take time to do so, but for now Iíll just give you the highlights. David committed adultery, murder, deceit and an abuse of power by using his position to sleep with the wife one of his soldiers and then did whatever it took to cover it up. His soldier was Uriah and the wife was Bathsheba.

Letís pick up the story in 2 Samuel 11: 26-27, ďWhen Uriahís wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.Ē David had wandered so far from God that he was willing to openly live with the woman he had had an affair with and whose husband he had murdered. David allowed his sin to separate him from God. Then his closest advisor, a prophet named Nathan, rebuked David for his sin and David became convicted of that sin. David repented of that sin, but it cost him dearly. The child that Bathsheba bore from the affair became ill and later died after seven days. Davidís own son, Absalom, conspired to seize his throne and drove David out of Jerusalem.

And God was true to the word He spoke through Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:10, ďNow, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.Ē Three of Davidís sons came to violent deaths: Ammon (2 Samuel 13:28-29), Absalom (2 Samuel 18:14) and Adonijah (1 Kings 2:25). David paid a most costly price for his sin.

King Solomon

Davidís son, Solomon, inherited the greatest kingdom from the greatest king, his father David. Letís look at 1 Kings 2:1-4 to see how David passed the throne to Solomon. ďWhen the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son. ĎI am about to go the way of all the earth,í he said. ĎSo be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go, and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ĎIf your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.Ē

What an incredible legacy to pass on to your son! His fatherís speech and the example that his fatherís life was for him to follow no doubt moved Solomon. I say this because in 1 Kings 3:5-14, ďthe Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, ĎAsk for whatever you want me to give you.Ē

What would you have asked for? Solomon asked God to give him a discerning heart to governÖand to distinguish between right and wrong. This pleased God so much that He not only gave Solomon a wise and discerning heart, but He gave Solomon both riches and honor. He had no equal among kings. (1 Kings 3:10-14) Solomon was by far the richest and wisest king to ever live. Solomon built the temple that his father so desperately wanted to build. A promise by God to David fulfilled through Solomon.

Why the long history lessons about Solomon? Because Solomon allowed himself to be led astray by his many wives. ďAs Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.Ē (1 Kings 11:4) The wisest and richest man to ever live, personally blessed by God Himself, turned from God in disobedience and allowed himself to be led astray! This disobedience caused Solomon to lose the anointing of God, and after his death, the nation of Israel.

Simon Peterís Denial

Simon, called Peter, was Jesusí right-hand man. Peter and his brother Andrew were the first to be called by Jesus to be His disciples. Peter was the first to say to Jesus, ďYou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.Ē (Matthew 16:16) Peter was the spokesman of the Disciples, sometimes boldly questioning Jesus. Peterís boldness led him to rebuke Jesus when Jesus predicted His death. Peter was present, with James and John, during Jesusí transfiguration and actually saw Moses and Elijah. Peter cut off the ear of one of the men arresting Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter was by far the one of the greatest defenders and believers of Jesus Christ, so much so that Jesus told Peter that he would build the church.

But like every great Biblical leader, and like every Believer and non-Believer, Peter fell short of the glory of God and sinned. Jesus Himself predicted Peterís sin, the denial of Jesus Christ. We are all guilty of denying God and disobeying His commands, even when we know that it will happen.

When Jesus was arrested, the once brave Peter cautiously followed to see what would happen. The crowd recognized Peter as one of Jesusí disciples, and three times Peter denied he knew Christ, just as Jesus had predicted. And when the rooster crowed, Peter wept bitterly. He never again spoke to Jesus before His death and went into hiding, a broken and bitter man.

The Prodigal Son

Luke 15:11-32 tells the very familiar story of the Parable of the Lost Son. The younger of two sons, this young man was ready to set out on his own and wanted his inheritance right now. I can just imagine the dreams he had and the certainty that he was going to make it big. His father went ahead and gave the younger son his share, even though this was highly unusual.

The son takes off to a far away land feeling rich and full of himself. Iím sure he believed that the good life was just waiting down the road. But his immaturity and wild living caused him to squander every penny of his inheritance. If this wasnít enough, a severe famine hit the whole country, and the once proud, young man found himself longing ďto fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.Ē (Luke 15:16) How does one go from riches and blessings to famine and loneliness? We find ourselves in these predicaments because of our sin.

The Way Back

What did these four do when they realized their sin? What do you do when you realize your sin? Three of the four repented of their sin, received forgiveness for their sins, and were restored to greater positions than before they had sinned. How is this possible? Letís look the Psalm 51 first.

David realized that his transgressions, iniquities and sin could only be washed away by Godís unfailing love that allowed His mercy and great compassion. David knew that he had sinned against God and he acknowledged that sin. David asked for forgiveness of sin and that God would create in him a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within him.

Solomon, on the other hand, did not repent like his father did. He was also involved in idolatrous worship, unlike David. (1 Kings 11:5-6) Solomonís refusal to repent from his sin was the beginning of the end for Israel. The only reason that all twelve tribes of Israel did not fall was because of Godís covenant with David. (1 Kings 11:13)

Peter was restored to a right relationship with Christ because he professed his love for Jesus, not just once, but three times. Jesus asked three times if Peter loved him, just as Peter had denied Jesus three times. This hurt Peter, but Jesus wanted to reinstate Peter and Jesus wanted Peter to publicly confess his love for Christ. Not only did Jesus reinstate Peter; He made Peter the leader of the church and even warned Peter that he would die a martyrís death, as did Christ, even in the same manner.

And what about the Lost Son? Why did the father reward the wayward son? Because this is the reward of Christian conversion. When we wander around, squander, and take for granted the blessings we receive, we have to repent. This is what the son did. He not only repented of his sin, he returned to his father and confessed his sin, and humbly asked for forgiveness. The fatherís response is the way God responds to each of us when we truly repent of our sin and humbly seek forgiveness.

So Whatís the Answer?

Can I come back? Of course you can! Jesus loves you and wants to forgive you. Not only that, He wants to use you for the good of His kingdom. The suffering we endure and the trials and tribulations we face are meant to purify us.

1 Peter 4:12-19 tells us that we will suffer for being a Christian. When you find yourself suffering because you are doing Godís will, ďRejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.Ē (1 Peter 4:13) This was written by someone who once rejected the idea of a suffering Christ but later understood that Christís and our sufferings are part of Godís plan.

God will always take the bad we get ourselves into and turn it into good if weíll just let Him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 to, ďCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Ē

If you havenít received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, now is the time. Do not delay another day! All the pain and guilt you feel will be washed away and the joy of salvation that David spoke about in Psalm 51 will be yours. Just acknowledge that you are a sinner and ask Jesus to forgive you. Ask Him to become Lord of your life and invite Him into your heart.

If you have received Jesus but have wandered off like the Lost Son, come back to Him with a humble and contrite heart. Jesus is waiting for you to return to Him. Come near to Him and He will come near to you. You are at a point right now, you can either take a step towards Christ or take a step back, but you cannot stand still. The Holy Spirit is calling you to action. Please take a step forward and renew the joy of salvation that is Christ Jesus.

Dave Jeffers is a Sunday school teacher, Bible student, lay preacher. Dave has taught and preached the word of God at churches in Germany and Belgium, as well as his home church in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Dave is a retired Army Master Sergeant and his 22 years of active duty not only allowed him to travel the world, but to also adopt a worldview based on biblical principles and life experiences. David graduated magna cum laude from Liberty University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Religion. David will be pursuing his Masters Degree in Theological Studies beginning in the Fall of '07

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