Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

Starting afresh with God

“Wes” recently made a comment on how amazing it is that God continues to work through us and even through our mistakes. Instead of just replying him, I thought that I would like to share what I preached about this past Sunday. (OK, not the whole sermon, just an idea that I shared which I picked up in a book I was reading). I was preaching on Genesis 13, the story where Abram and Lot seperated. But to understand this story, one has to go back to Genesis 12, first of all where Abram was called by God to be a blessing to all the nations. Then the story where Abram and his wife Sarai went to Egypt and Abram told a lie to the Pharaoh that Saria was his sister in order to save his own skin. Eventually the truth came out when God struck the house of Pharaoh with all kinds of diseases and Abram and Sarai were chased out of Egypt. The irony in this story is that Abram, instead of bringing blessing to this nation, brought a curse upon them!
Now we come to Genesis 13 and we read these remarkable words in verses 3 & 4: From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD.
What is remarkable about these verses is that it seems as if God is taking Abram back to the roots of their relationship, almost as if He is saying to Abram: Let’s start all over again and see if you can do it right this time! And isn’t that what God does with us as well. Instead of punishing us or breaking the relationship, (which He has all the right to do), He starts all over again to enable us to do things right. God wants to re-establish our relationship with Him. Therefore, when I make a mistake or even a serious blunder, God can (and wants to) start afresh and re-establish our relationship with Him so that we can start all over – almost as if the mistake never happened!
I thought that this was really so awesome.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - Posted by | Grace, Mission


  1. Yes, brother, that is amazing. Pardon me if I rephrase what you have said in my own words, I need this message.

    I was meditating a few months ago on the doctrine of sanctification in light of God’s love. When I sin or mess up, I tend to beat myself up as if my self-deprecations will earn-back God’s love. But the beauty of it is that God’s love towards me is defined by Christ, not by my sin (yes, the Holy Spirit is grieved by sin and my experience of closeness with God will be clouded if I remain in a state of unrepentance). But concerning sanctification, the idea is that our Christian lives are a journey toward increasing levels of maturity and holiness. That means that I was less aware of my sin when I was first a believer, but God used me nonetheless. This blows my mind. That means he uses me now, knowing that I will be more mature in 10 years, if I have that long. He isn’t waiting for us to be perfect to use us. He uses us as we are in our imperfections.

    You are right, God treats us as if our mistakes never happened. God cleanses us from a guilty conscience and his grace covers our sins and our mistakes that are not sinful as well. God’s grace to us in those types of mistakes comes through the church. You related the story of your first church council. The church didn’t give up on you because you enforced a democracy on them, you were graciously allowed to make that mistake. And you were graciously allowed to learn from it. Isn’t that amazing! In the corporate world, mistakes aren’t tolerated and people lose their jobs. In the kingdom, mistakes are covered without corruption. Praise God!

    Thank you for your post, it reminded me of something I have needed to hear again.

    Comment by wlh | Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. Amen and amen! Except for your second to last sentence, because so often in the church we are extremely harsh upon each other and extremely unforgiving – even if and when people are prepared to confess their wrongdoings. But I may share something about that in the near future. I made a note of it.

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Thursday, August 30, 2007 | Reply

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