Will God Ever Give Up On Me?

We’ve all been there. You give in to a temptation you’ve struggled against for years. Maybe it’s lust, or an eating disorder, or greed, or anger. After a flood of guilt and self-loathing you find yourself wondering: Will God ever give up on me? Is this the final straw? Am I really a Christian? When we start wondering if our sin’s greater than God’s forgiveness, it’s a sign that we’ve forgotten how great his salvation really is. One way I fight these doubts is by re-remembering the Bible’s storyline. Only in the pages of the Bible do I find true, deep assurance of God’s grace to terrible sinners like me.

As we read through the Old Testament, we’ll notice that exact theme. It’s in the form of a question: will God give up sinful humanity? Before Adam and Eve rebelled against God, they were warned that if they disobeyed God they would “surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Yet, after they disobeyed they didn’t die. We wonder why? Could it be that the serpent was right? Did they outsmart God’s threat? Or was something more inexplicable happening?

There’s more to this creator God than justice. He’s a gracious God, who refuses give up on his creation. That’s why God spared Adam and Eve from immediate physical death. In fact, God’s gracious refusal to give up went one step further: he promised to right their wrongs. To the serpent God said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The evil one will be defeated; the curse will be overturned; God will not give up.

Yet humans grew in sin. They used their God-given gifts to destroy God’s creation and one another. The human will seemed bent against God’s intent to restore all things. Thus God determined to judge the world with a flood. Had God finally given up on man?

No. There is one family who God graciously chose to save. Not because they were good people, but because God refused to give up. Before we read anything about Noah’s righteousness, we read that “Grace found noah” (Gen. 6:8, J.A. Motyer’s translation). God decided to use him and his broken family to fulfill his promise to save mankind.

The story continues with one dysfunctional leader after another, but God never gave up on his promise.

Abraham denied his wife and slept with his servant, but God refused to give up. He gave him a son of promise, who fathered Jacob, who fathered the Israelite nation, through whom God would save the world.

God graciously saved the Israelites from slavery. They respond by worshipping a golden calf. Did God give up on his people? Would he finally judge all of mankind? No. He made a way (through the priestly sacrificial system) for Israel to get right with him. God refused to give up his promise. Gabriel Fackre writes,

God does not go back on the divine intention. The No of the world cannot turn aside the Yes of the Word. Covenant [God’s promise] is for keeps. Even though the world resists God’s purposes, he refuses to abandon it to self-destruction.

God must be just against human evil. He must judge it. Yet he must also stay true to his promise to save humanity. Somehow grace must defeat and fulfill God’s justice. That’s why Jesus came. He came to pay just penalty for our sin: death. Yet, through that death he won forgiveness. He substituted himself for us, so that through his death we are made right with God; we are united to Christ so that his righteousness becomes our righteousness.

We all feel the terrible burden of sin in our lives. That’s why we wonder if God will give up on us. It feels like lust and people pleasing bare the power to defeat God’s intention to save. Like, after enough transgressions, we might move beyond the pale of forgiveness.

But remember: covenant is for keeps. God’s promise to save has always beat the odds. He’s never failed to keep it. We feel despondent because we see that we cannot save ourselves. We are like the people we read about in the Bible:  hopeless, godless, proud, and lost. But God is the God we read about in the Bible, the God who refuses to give up, the God who delights to defeat human wickedness with divine grace.

So, will God ever give up me? The Bible answers definitively, “No.” God refuses to give up on his people. Our sovereign, all powerful God will not fail to fulfill his promise to those who trust him. How can we be sure? We look to his word, but especially we look to Christ’s cross. Upon that splintery wood he won every promise’s, “Yes.” Our assurance is not found in the depth of our guilt or the sincerity of our penance. It is found on the pierced hands of our savior, hands which even our worst sin cannot unscar, because forgiveness has been won once for all who believe.

*Originally published on March 20, 2013

2 Comments

  1. Imani Moseley said:

    Thank you so much! I really needed to hear this. I felt like because I hadn’t gone to church in a while, God is slowly giving up, I felt like he was going to leave me and my sins. I should have known how glorious God is! I really needed to hear this. Thank you so much

  2. Dobie said:

    hOW ABOUT WHEN gOD SENDS AN aNGEL OF mERCY, / ANGEL OF DEATH. tHINK ABOUT IT SOMEONE A VOICE STARTS ASKING YOU QUESTIONS , AND YOUR DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD ALL BY YOURSELF. dOING ABOUT 65 MPH , AND THE VOICE SAYS, WHY DIDN’T YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL WITH JASON? BECAUSE i TRIED TWICE TO GET HIM UP FRONT AND IN THE CAB. aND STEVE OFFERED HIM SHOTGUN AND HE REFUSED, WHEN HE PASSED OUT AND PUKED DOWN THE SIDE OF MY TRUCK AND FELL OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION, ALL GOD NEEDED TO DO WAS TELL THAT FOOL, IN HIS OWN INNER VOICE , iF HE WOULD OF JUST SAID TO jASON, YOU SHOULD GET UP FRONT, HE THINKS HE JUST TOLD HIMSELF TO GET UP FRONT. IF GOD PUTS A LITTLE ENERGY INTO IT, OR GIVES THE GUY A QUICK CHILL FROM THE OREGON COAST NIGHT AIR, HE WOULD OF STARTED POUNDING ON THE CAB SAYING, lET ME UP FRONT” lETS JUST SAY i’VE HAD SOME TOTALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE WITH THE VOICE THAT HAS BEEN GUIDING ME THROUGH MY LIFE. iF GOD JUST ASKED ME AND IF HE HAD THE COMMON DECENCY TO IDENTIFY ITS SELF. tHEN A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THE GAP OF COMUNICATION STEMS FROM THE OTHER SIDE BEING UNWILLING TO SHARE ANY INFORMATION. oF COARSE WHAT BETTER WAY CAN YOU THINK OF , TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOME ONLY HUMAN TYPE SPECIES. aFTER ALL ONLY ANGELS FLY! bUT TALK IS CHEAP AND ACTION HAS ALWAYS SPOKE LOUDER THAN WORDS TO ME. sO WHEN THE ALMIGHTY TURNS DOWN AN EARTHLY CHALLENGE I HAVE TO BELIEVE I’M GETTING LIED TO. I MEAN AT LEAST EXPLAIN YOUR SELF OLD WISE AND HUMBLE LEADER!!!!!!!
    SILENCE……………………………………..NO REPLY/ WHAT IS ONE TO BELIEVE WHEN THE UNIQUE EXTRA VOCAL SIGNATURE THAT HAS COME DOWN ON ME BRINGING NOTHING BUT HELL WITH IT! ALL i DID WAS EXACTLY WHAT i WAS TOLD. gOD SAID”STAND UP FOR YOURSELF” WELL GOD OR THE VOICE WITH NO BODY, THE VOICE THAT SOUNDS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE BUT SO CLOSE IT MUST BE SPOKEN AT EXACTLY 90 HZ. OR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AVCERAGE MALE ANSD FEMALE HOMO SAPIENS VOICES RANGE. hE USED US, HE ABUSES SOME OF US, AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO SOMETHING BAD. i’VE BEEN PUNISHED SEVERAL TIMES WHILE DOING WHAT I THOUGHT WAS A GOOD DEED . PICKING UP OTHER PEOPLES TRASH AND LITTER AND BURNING IT ALONG THE LAKE FRONT IN A NICE SOLID ROCK CAMP FIRE STYLE SETTING. nO HARM NO FOUL, bUT i GOT ARRESTED TWICE, FOR LITTERING 100 FEET FROM A WATERWAY. lONG STORY SHORT, i DON’T PARTICULARLY FIND GOD’S MYSTERIOUS WAYS VERY COMFORTING BUT GOOD LUCK YOU WILL DEFINATELY GO MUCH FURTHER THEN i HAVE EVER BEEN ALLOWED. oH BY THE WAy I didn’t get the bad attitude until about fifteen years of being tortured daily all day long every waking moment the voice would refuse to shut up ask the same question over and over and the stupid fool knows if your lieing about any of your justifications for why you did or do what you do. There is no such thing as wrong or right when god leeds by poor example he dis appoints much deeper then you can imagine. the cover up that i’ve seen is almost textbook. The guilty one attacks the suspicious one backing them down with the threat of their rath, and thus stopping all conversation about his guilt, he has turned the focus on someone else now they are the guilty ones and anger doth rule again. He who yell loudess often rules the roost.

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