Faith and Family

Lynn Jones: God can use us after we sin

By Lynn Jones

If we do not have a mirror, we cannot see the way we really look.  Something more serious than that, however, is when we cannot see ourselves spiritually. 

Simon Peter experienced that on the night before the cross of Christ. Jesus said to him, “Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:34). Peter did not see himself doing such a thing. He was blind to his weakness and sin. Later that night after Jesus’ arrest, Peter did exactly what Jesus had predicted. After Peter’s third denial, as Jesus was passing through the courtyard, He turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered Jesus’ prediction of his denial, “and he went outside and wept bitterly” (22:62).

Lynn Jones

We also become blind to our weaknesses and sins. But when we come face to face with the living Lord—when we look on Him, and He looks on us–we see ourselves. It jars us to our senses. We can no longer deceive ourselves about who we are. When Peter saw Christ, he also saw himself and was changed by the confrontation.

There was profound sorrow on Peter’s part for his sin, his denials, and his disobedience. He bolted from the courtyard and somewhere in that cold, silent night in Jerusalem, He wept out His pain and regret. He repented of His sin and asked God for forgiveness.

A cartoon showed a man in a greeting card shop. The clerk had evidently asked him if he needed help in finding a particular type of card. The man was saying to her, “I would like to find a card that stops short of saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ yet vaguely hints of some wrongdoing.”

But when we come face to face with the living Lord, we must be more direct than that. If genuine change is to take place in our lives, then we need to come clean with God about our sin. We need to take our place alongside Peter and express our pain and regret over our sin and our unfaithfulness. 

When we respond to Christ’s confrontation in that kind of way, then the good news is that Christ can still use us. This was not the last time that Jesus looked on Peter. On the day of His resurrection, He appeared to Peter (Lk. 24:34). Later, alongside the Sea of Galilee, He gave Peter the opportunity to affirm his love for Him. As Peter had denied Him three times, Jesus gave him the opportunity to affirm his love for Him three times (John 21). After this sin, Jesus used Peter to preach the first Christian sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41).

This baseball season reminds us that in baseball it is three strikes and you’re out. Peter’s experience reminds us that it is different in the kingdom! 

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: