At its very root, salvation is a second chance at life. To receive salvation is to be saved from the sinful nature, to become a new person, and to literally have a new lease at life. The old person is steeped in sin, depraved and unable to reach God. The new person has died to the old, and has become new because of this. The new person has become new because they have received Christ – and this means that we are “in Christ.” Being seated in Christ, we receive a new nature, that of holiness, not of sin. Romans 6:19b-23 says, “…as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Allow me to use a poem by Kathleen Wheeler, called A New Leaf, to illustrate what it is like to get a second chance from God:
He came to my desk with quivering lip–
The lesson was done.
“Dear Teacher I want a new leaf,” he said,
“I have spoiled this one.”
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled,
“Do better now, my child.”
I went to the throne with a quivering soul–
The old year was done.
“Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
I have spoiled this one.”
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave me a new one all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled,
“Do better now, My child.”
Just as the child could ask the teacher for a new piece of paper, when we come humbly before God and repent of our sins, he forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Repentence is very important here. It is actually key. The boy had to surrender the soiled piece of paper to get a new one. The narrator of the poem gave the past year to the Lord in the hope that he would give her a second chance.
The victory comes when we realize that we do not only have a second chance, but the actual power and authority to not only do better, but to live up to the standard of holines that God has called us to. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” This is possible because we are in Christ, and because Satan is below Christ’s feet, and we are in Christ, Satan is also below our feet (Ephesians 2:6).