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

One Comment

  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

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