We have a tendency to measure sin, to quantify its severity. Jesus corrected such flawed thinking.
And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” (13:2-5).
And He repeated this exact phrase, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And we know when the Lord repeats Himself, pay attention!
Jesus called all to repent, not just the worst sinners, the sinners we ourselves find so offensive. While it is true some choices do result in more devastating consequences than others, Jesus says, the ultimate destiny we all will face is the same, unless we repent.
Consider His Call to Repent
- His Call to Repent is without partiality.
- “…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” (13:3,5).
- His Call to Repent is a call which bears fruit.
- And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any,” (13:6).
- His Call to Repent is humiliating.
- As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated… (13:17).
- His Call to Repent is pervading.
- So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” 20 And again He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened,” (13:18-20).
- His Call to Repent is narrow.
- And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from,’” (13:23-25).
- His Call to Repent defies human wisdom.
- “And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last,” (13:30).
- His Call to Repent is not forced.
- “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” (13:34).
How do we respond to His Call to Repent?
Our eternity is determined in how we respond to His Call to Repent. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to examine their own faith; for it is only faith in Jesus Christ that secures our place in His kingdom.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Today, let us follow Paul’s advice and examine our faith for evidence of Jesus Christ manifesting His life in us.
- His Call to Repent is without partiality. We must recognize and admit we do not measure up and we fall short.
- …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23).
- His Call to Repent is a call which bears fruit. Is our life a testimony of His gift of repentance?
- “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits,” (Matthew 7:16-20).
- His Call to Repent is humiliating. Have we humbled ourselves and converted as a child; are we willing to be humiliated before men for the sake of the gospel?
- And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:2-3).
- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, (Romans 1:16).
- His Call to Repent is pervading. Has Christ pervaded our whole beings; has the old passed away, and new things come?
- Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- His Call to Repent is narrow. The world rejects the narrow way of Christianity. Do we accept His narrow way in faith as our only means of salvation, not trusting in anything we can do but in His way alone?
- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
- His Call to Repent defies human wisdom. Are we trusting in the world’s wisdom or the wisdom of God?
- For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe… 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men, (1 Corinthians 1:18,20-21,25).
- His Call to Repent is not forced. He has made His truth evident, but it is our choice to suppress His Call to Repent or submit to it.
- For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them… 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened, (Romans 1:18-19,21).
We pass the test when we understand our eternal destiny apart from Jesus Christ, our total inadequacy to save ourselves and by faith submit to His Call to Repent as we trust His Holy Spirit to transform us.
As we grow in our faith, let us trust His Holy Spirit to transform our lives that we would bear fruit in keeping with repentance.
“Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance,” (Luke 3:8).