Evangelicals. A new study sponsored by, “Bible Studies for Life” finds that Americans believe that God gives second chances for those who, “have made a bad decision”. What makes this study fascinating is which Americans believe this and why.
The research study from LifeWay Christian Resources discovered that over-all 84 percent of Americans believe god gives a second chance. It goes up to 94 percent when Protestants were asked. But topping the response at 98 percent were Evangelical Christians when asked if God gives second chances for past mistakes.
Why would Evangelicals believe almost 100 percent in forgiveness and second chances?
Evangelicals believe in, “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Repentance is threefold. It’s identifying sin, understanding that it is sin and being remorseful for it. Finally, we give the sin to God thus releasing the burden and guilt (remission) of that sin.
Evangelicals also understand that sin is in the skin and that we will stumble. This is why Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins. We can’t make it on our own so God sent his son, Jesus Christ to pay the price of our sins and to act as a mediator for us to God.
But the Lifeway study goes on to reveal more telling information about what Americans think God bases his forgiveness on.
How God Forgives
“Nearly one in five Americans believe God gives a second chance when a person depends only on God (19 percent), followed closely by when a person makes restitution (18 percent), does enough good (15 percent) or promises not to repeat the mistake (11 percent). Fewer than one in six Americans say they are not sure why God gives second chances,” according to Lifeway.
Here is something all Christians need to note. 81 percent of the people in this study either have a “works and deeds” mentality or simply do not know why or how God forgives.
Works and deeds mentality is when someone believes that God’s forgiveness is a merited favor. It is based on the mindset that if we do something good God will forgive our bad. But doing a “good” act can be done by anyone without relationship to God or salvation of Christ. It comes from a credit/debit world that thinks that a debt (sin) can be paid with credit (good deed). God owes no one. His forgiveness is based on grace, which is a free gift from God.
The Lifeway study makes very clear the job set before us. People do not understand the forgiveness of God. It is not understood that only through Christ as our Savior and the by the Grace of God can we be forgiven and saved. Once forgiven we are able to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us” (Heb 12:1) and move forward in life and with our life.
We have a great message to spread.