SECOND CHANCE, A FALSE HOPE
The idea that we will have some kind of second chance to prove we are good enough to be saved is taught by some religious groups. However, there are serious problems.
I. There is no evidence that there is a second chance.
OBJECTION: It is claimed that in Ezekiel 37:7-14, where it speaks of the valley of dry bones which came together, it teaches a second chance.
1. The passage says nothing about a second chance.
2. It speaks of the restoration of the house of Israel, not everyone.
3. The most likely explanation is that Ezekiel is using his usual symbolism to describe their restoration as if it were a resurrection. We do not know it to be literal. It is certainly not true that the whole house of Israel has their bones dried in some valley. Verse 11 indicates that his illustration of dry bones came from their saying that, “our bones are dried up...”
4. There are at least two things which would be like a resurrection.
1) Restoration of the Jews to Palestine would be like coming from the dead.
2) Their being united in Christ will be like a resurrection.
Most of the Old Testament Prophecies were fulfilled in Christ. In Rom. 11:15 it says that Israel’s being grafted back in will be, “as life from the dead.” Baptism itself is likened to a resurrection (Rom. 6:3-11). Jesus spoke of the Jews as being dead (Matt. 8:22, cf. 23:27).
OBJECTION: They claim the “times of restoration” (Ac. 3:19-21), will be a second chance.
a. It is clear that the repentance is to be done now in order to receive “seasons of refreshing,” not in some future life.
b. Many Bible students believe this means Christ will come when the “restoration” has been accomplished. Christ NOW is reigning at the right hand of the Father (Ac. 2:32-35). He will sit there until the last enemy, death, is destroyed (1Cor. 15:25, 26).
c. The passage says nothing of a second chance.
OBJECTION: It is claimed that rebuilding the “tabernacle of David” (Ac. 15;13-17), must be a “second lifetime chance.”
a. It says nothing of a second chance.
b. It is clear that he is quoting this prophecy as evidence that God is now taking a people for His name. It is not speaking of a future time of second chance.
OBJECTION: Matt. 5:5. It is claimed that the when the meek inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5) is a second chance.
a. Again, it says nothing of a second chance.
b. This has reference to the “meek,” not the wicked. These are those who have not been too proud to listen to their Lord.
c. This may simply indicate the triumph of God's kingdom over the evils of this world through his people in this lifetime.
d. It may be speaking of our inheritance to live forever in the new earth.
II. The basic rationale for the second chance is faulty.
It is claimed that Christ's death unconditionally forgave the sins of everyone (whether repentant or not) in order to provide resurrection to a second chance in a coming lifetime. This is a second chance to do enough good works in obedience to God's “rules of law” to show that they are worthy of receiving eternal life. Death is only a “chastisement” to teach the person to be faithful in this second lifetime.
a. Because we are a part of Adam, all die (Rom. 5:12-21). Through Christ, all are raised from death. Because we had no part in Adam's decision to sin, all receive resurrection without having to make a choice. However, where we made the choice to sin we are required to make the choice of faith and repentance. Without this, our judgment is already decided (John 3:18; Rev. 20:14).
b. The idea that we can earn our salvation by becoming “good enough” through, “obedience to rules of law,” is flatly contradicted by scripture (Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8, 9). We are required to have a living faith (James 2:14-26). We obey because we believe. Nothing is said of having to have a period of works to prove we are obedient enough.
III. Many scriptures show that in the resurrection our judgment is based upon this life, not on the next. The next is a time of rewards, and punishment, not works.
Those who teach a second chance claim that, “judgment” is a period of testing. However, “judgment” is never used of being tested. It means either a decision about what has already taken place or the sentence imposed as the results of a decision. Claiming that this means that after we die we receive a period of testing, removes the present life as the time of being tested.
Judgment is clearly future, after the resurrection which takes place in Rev. 20:11-15.
Matt 12:41-42. The men of Nineveh will rise in judgment with this generation.
John 5:28-29. The dead come forth. Some to life and others to judgment.
2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10. Judgment is when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
Heb 10:27. Judgment may be fearful and fiery, devouring the adversaries.
Acts 17:30-31. God has appointed a day to judge the world.
Mat 13:47-50. Kingdom is like a net. In the end of the world angels will separate the wicked from the just and cast them into a furnace of fire and there will be weeping and wailing.
a. At the rich man's and Lazarus's deaths it was decided they would be in comfort or torment.
b. The rich man's brothers on earth had no other chance if they would not hear Moses and the Prophets.
This shows that we will be accountable immediately at death. At that time the wicked go to a place of torment (Lk. 16:19-31) where they are held until the Judgment (2Pe. 2:9). At that time the final declaration is made to all before the great white throne and they are cast into the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15; 14:9-11; Mark 9:42-48; Matt. 25:31-46).
a. There is certainly no second chance during the thousand years. Other than those beheaded for Jesus, the, “rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years were finished” (Rev. 20:5). It is a perversion of scripture to teach that they are coming to life during the thousand years.
b. Nothing is said of them coming to life during the “little season” (Rev. 20:3; 7-9).
c. The great white throne appears after the “little season.” The earth and heaven flee away and there is found no place for them (20:11). The place of opportunity is gone.
d. After the great white throne appears, death, Hades and the sea give up the dead in them. All come before the throne to receive the result of their works, whether good or evil. Nothing is said of anyone receiving a “second life-time trial” (20:11-15).
e. The new heavens and new earth (21:1) are after the white throne appears (20:11) and the first heaven and earth have passed away. Since there is no sea the dead in it have already been raised and judged before the “new earth” (20:13).
f. The new heavens and earth have no death, crying or pain (21:4). This cannot be during the “little season” because that is a time of war and death (20:8,9).