Who among us doesn’t have a past filled with a certain amount of regret for sinful things we have done? Yet how many among us have been recipients of God’s amazing grace? Newt Gingrich certainly has a past and as he has admitted, it is a past full of regret. How could any of us have missed the recent media attention surrounding his failed marriage just days before the Republican primary election in South Carolina? My intent is not to justify Newt Gingrich’s past or to act as if there aren’t any consequences for his actions because there are. He’s suffering those consequences right now. Before you think I am, let me say that personally, I’m still undecided on who to support for President. But I do want to highlight a point I believe should be made. I have heard Newt explain his regret for past failures and how he has sought God for forgiveness for his sins. I take him at his word because I know that I have been forgiven for mine just as I assume you have as well.
Scripture tells us that “as far as the east is from the west, so far does God remove our sins from us” (Psalm 103:12). Do you know that King David wrote this psalm? Do you know that David committed adultery among other sins? And do you know that it is through David’s line that Jesus Christ, the Messiah came? In fact, Jesus is referred to as the son of David (Matthew 1:1). What about the apostle Paul? He persecuted Christians prior to his faith in Jesus Christ. But once converted, Paul was a changed man, writing thirteen letters of the New Testament. Do we forgo those letters because of the apostle Paul’s past? Of course not! How gracious a God we have? How great a recipient of His grace have you been? That grace comes because of Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross. When we truly receive God’s grace, we are eager to show grace to others.
Perhaps the consequences of Newt Gingrich’s past failures are that he will not be President. So be it, but don’t hold his past against him as a man. This is not a political endorsement. This is about forgiveness and grace. Why is it not possible that we could find greater joy in seeing a changed man glorify God than to watch as imperfect people repeatedly seek to destroy him? We have all sinned and fallen short of who God calls us to be. Like each of us, time will tell if Newt Gingrich is a changed man as it will be displayed in how he lives his life going forward. God’s grace should bring about a pattern of obedience and though it will never be perfect, our desire should be that it will be. But this we can be sure of, we have a Savior whose obedience was perfect. His name is Jesus and those who have faith in Him stand forgiven, be it you, me or Newt.