Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

A Simple but Powerful Message!

Meditation for the week of April 14, 2013

Luke 13:3, 5  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

This must be an important statement since it is repeated.  In this chapter we have people who think they are saved but they are not.  Even though we don’t like to be negative, there is a lot of teaching in the Bible about people who think they are right with God who need to repent and believe.  In this chapter the fig tree that had three years of opportunity to bear fruit before it was cut down likely speaks of the nation of Israel. They thought they were worshiping Jehovah.  In fact they were rejecting Him by rejecting the Lord Jesus.  There are those in this chapter who expect entry into heaven simply because the Lord has eaten with them and He has taught in their streets. The Lord says to them, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity (Luke 13:27).”

The people who needed to repent in this chapter thought that the calamities of others was because of their great sin.  Their reasoning was that good people received blessing in this life and bad people are judged in this life.  So by their thinking, they were pretty good while the people who had suffered calamity were pretty bad.  I remember when  hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  There were those who thought that God was judging immorality.  However, those who were saying that were forgetting that if God always judged sinners on this earth, none of us would be exempt.  We should be honest and quit singling out specific sinners and their sins when we preach the Gospel and recognize that God says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).”  I strongly believe that religious people try to control others by pointing out their sins which in many cases are abominable.  But a truly born again person is more concerned with the sins in their own lives than in the lives of others.  A truly saved person understands that they may not have committed the same sins that the religious world finds despicable before they were saved but they committed sins that God found despicable.  And even though we may have some power over sin after we are saved, we still do sin.  We need to be grieving about our failures while compassionately and faithfully pointing out God’s standards to the unsaved.  We have no right to condemn, only God has that right.

These self-righteous Jews were told that they needed to repent.  What does that mean?  The Bible usually speaks of faith in Christ saving, so why does repentance seem to save in this passage?  If you study repentance and faith, the same things are said about both.  Faith saves (Ephesians 2:8), so does repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Faith has works following (Ephesians 2:10) and so does repentance (Matthew 3:8).  Both are commanded (Mark 1:15).  Repentance is a turn or a change of mind.  We have to have our mind changed with regard to whatever is keeping us from believing in the Lord, before we can trust Him.  The Thessalonians turned from idols to God.  These Jews needed to turn from self-righteousness and admit that they were sinners just like those they were condemning.  We all have problems believing God because we all have our own notions of what is right.  A person who has truly repented in the Biblical sense has come to faith in Christ.  If a person hasn’t come to faith in Christ, it is because that person hasn’t repented in the Biblical sense.  Issues over which we need to change our minds may be different, but we all have some issue that stands between us and God before we are saved.  The repentant person finally admits that God is right even though that makes him or her wrong.  That kind of a person has no trouble trusting in the truth that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). 

This is a powerful message, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish!”  The Jews as a whole did not heed it, and as a nation they were judged for rejecting their Messiah.  I trust none of us reading this will make that same mistake.

Bruce Collins

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