Some of the happiest people I know are on probation. At first that may sound strange, but people who have been convicted of a crime and are given a probated sentence have been given a second chance.

Their hearts were pounding as they stood before the judge awaiting their sentence because of the fear of incarceration.

After receiving probation they were so grateful that they didn’t have to go to prison that they were willing to do whatever was asked of them.

In a spiritual sense, we believers are all on probation, because we have all been found guilty and worthy of death, but when we confess our sins (plead guilty) and throw ourselves on the mercy of the Judge, we can be granted a probated sentence which is good news.

Now we get an opportunity to prove ourselves worthy of this second chance by carefully following instructions. We should be elated that we are no longer living outside the law.

Frequently the requirements for probation include:

  • Restitution
  • Community service
  • Frequent meetings with a probation officer, for assessment of our conduct.

Does that ring a bell?

As believers we are expected to correct our wrongs (make restitution) like Zacchaeus did, and we are expected to “steal no more but work with our hands so we will have something to give to the needy”, which is like community service.

We have been given weekly and annual probation appointments, (Sabbaths, new moons and feasts) which we are warned not to forsake. (Hebrews 10:25)

These meetings are administered by a loving "probation officer", who is a close relative of the Judge who speaks often to Him on our behalf.

This is all wonderful news, but here is the sobering part.

If we fail this test of obedience we could be called a "re – probate", or "reprobate" which means to fail the test.

So let us rejoice ---- with trembling, that is.