Here are some great thoughts about salvation, forgiveness, and repentance from NFL special teams standout Matthew Slater.
As Matthew says, it’s vital we understand who God is, and what He says about us and our sin. To fall short of a touchdown is disappointing, but our problem is much bigger: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There’s bad news and good news: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Because Jesus Christ died sacrificially on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t automatic. If we want to be forgiven, we must confess and repent of our sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
There’s no righteous deed we can do that will earn us a place in Heaven (Titus 3:5). We come to Christ empty-handed. We can take no credit for salvation: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
God’s greatest gift is Himself. We not only need salvation—we need the Savior, and He has a name: Jesus (which means “God saves”).
Scripture speaks of the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Once believers are born again, we cannot continue to sin as a lifestyle because of our new natures (see 1 John 3:9). Sin is still present in our lives (see Romans 6:11-14; 1 John 1:8–2:2), but we have supernatural power to overcome it since we’ve died to sin (see Romans 6:6-9).
God’s Holy Spirit indwells us and helps us obey Him (see 2 Timothy 1:14). Christ grants believers new natures that free us from sin’s bondage (2 Corinthians 5:17). We’ll sometimes trip, but we don’t have to fall—and when we do, by His grace and strength, we can get back up. Because our hearts are changed when we’re born again, we want a better way. “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (Romans 8:9).
Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we’re free to reject sin and its misery, and instead embrace righteousness and its joy. When we do this we’ll experience a flood of God’s grace in our lives, restoring us to the abundant life of walking with the One who is our Lord, King, and best Friend (John 15:13, 15).
This blog is excerpted from a five-day devotional I wrote for Sports Spectrum, available on YouVersion. Each day’s entry features video reflections from NFL stars, including Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Slater, Matt Forte, and Demario Davis. They discuss topics such as the daily refreshment of God’s Word, prayer, salvation, baptism and the courage to tell others about Jesus. Below each video, I share some additional reflections.
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.