“I still have many things to say to you,” Jesus said to His disciples, “but you cannot bear them now” (John 16:12). Our Lord was not speaking solely for the benefit of those who were listening at that moment; He was teaching all of us a biblical truth: God is not finished with us yet! Now, if you are anything like me (a great sinner in daily need of an even greater Savior), that is not only a source of unimaginable comfort, but of unbelievable freedom.
Because God is not finished with you yet, you are in a continual state of process and progression—not perfection. You don’t know everything you are going to know. You don’t think everything you are going to think. You don’t say everything you are going to say. You don’t do everything you are going to do. You are not everything you are going to be. And because of the promised reality of what you will one day be—“conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)—you can rest in the reality of your freedom today.
- You are free to enjoy.
- You are free to explore.
- You are free to risk.
- You are free to relax.
- You are free to dream.
- You are free to desire.
- You are free to love.
- You are free to laugh.
- You are free to sing.
- You are free to sorrow.
- You are free to forgive.
- You are free to fail.
That’s right! You are even free to fail. This must be true if we are not yet perfected. Perfection is the only state where there is no failure, and since we are not yet perfected, we will fail. Do you remember when Jesus told Peter he was free to fail? You might be thinking, “I don’t remember any story in the Bible where Jesus told anyone he was free to fail.” Well, stay with me for just a minute, and you may be surprised! Just hours before he was betrayed and arrested, Jesus was speaking to His disciples. Suddenly, he turned and spoke directly to Peter:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”
Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:31-34)
When Jesus told Peter he was going to deny Him three times that night, He was telling Peter he was free to fail . . . and fail he did! After promising to die to keep from failing his Lord, Peter did fail Jesus three times, but the story of his failure doesn’t end there. Jesus didn’t forget about Peter, and Jesus didn’t forsake him. After the resurrection, Jesus restored, recommissioned, and resent Peter to advance the cause of His Kingdom.
The freedom we experience in the Gospel is hard to believe. And let me say this; if it’s not hard to believe, it’s not the freedom of the Gospel! Because Jesus came to set the captives free, everyone who belongs to Jesus is free. And in that freedom, there is even freedom to fail. Regardless of where this finds you, whether you are coming out of a failure or getting ready to stumble into another one, fear not! And when you fail, remember that Jesus is waiting to do the same to you that he did for Peter—to forgive you, restore you, recommission you, and resend you—time and time again!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!