It is true that through Christ we have the ability to start again. It is also true that through the forgiveness of Christ our lives need not be entirely defined by our past, or by our present, but that we can look to a future day where our lives will be defined by a new reality. This is good news. However, this is not all the news. There does come a time where we cannot begin again. When the relationship is already lost, when that stage of our life is already past, when we cannot go back and do differently what we have already done or failed to have done.I’m sometimes dramatically made aware of this when delivering a sermon that makes a heavy demand for life change and my eyes make eye contact with a person who is in their 80s or 90s. Yes, depending on the message they can respond by God’s grace. Other times the message is clearly for a person in another life stage. The Gospel speaks to us differently in the varied stages of our lives.
Of course, we never know when the end will come, but most of us who – statistically -- have a couple or more decades of life to live tend to fool ourselves into thinking “we have time.” We may not have time to make a fresh start unless we start today. This urgency to respond to the Gospel is seen in Jesus’ own ministry when several would-be disciples give Him excuses about why they cannot follow Him immediately. His response is, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
The fact that our earthy lives are limited is a painful reality for most of us. This means we have to decide what we really need to do, and not simply what we would like to do. If you’re been wanting to do something with your life or change something about your life for years and you haven’t done it yet you need either to get going with God and with other people to make that change or you need to be honest and admit you’re not going to do it and stop wasting your aspirational time.
God’s grace is always extended, but we are not always able to respond (for more on God’s grace and human response click here.) This should cause us to ponder very carefully what changes we need to make in our lives, not later, but now, for our time is limited.