Unless You Repent

Unless You Repent

In Luke 13:3, the Bible reads, “I tell you, No; but unless you repent (change your mind for the better and heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), you will all likewise perish and be lost eternally.”  The Lord Jesus Christ uttered this direct, dramatic yet needful and necessary command as He taught the people during His earthly ministry.  The command arose out of an awareness of a tragedy, which occurred in regard to some “Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1) and those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed” (Luke 13:4). 

Jesus used these situations with which the audience was familiar to suggest that these unfortunate casualties were not the result of a unique and unprecedented sinfulness, or merely crime victims.  The dead of whom Jesus spoke were individuals who needed to repent.  The living to whom Jesus spoke were, equally, sinners and needed to repent, lest they also perish.  Jesus here presents two alternatives: “repent or perish.”  The choice was theirs, but choose they must.

Today and unfortunately, the situation has not changed.  Men are still sinners.  Christ still challenges man to make the choice.  Each day, we make the choice: we repent or we perish.  There are many things of which men need to repent and many areas in which they must repent or perish.

We Must REPENT Of Personal Sins 

All men are sinners.  In Romans 3:23, the Bible reads, “Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.”  The Bible also reads in Romans 3:10, “As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one.”  Men, however, are sinners because they have disobeyed God, not because they were born sinners.  In 1 John 3:4, the Bible reads, “Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect – being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).”  Men are neither born to sin as some would have us believe; nor are they born as sinners.  Men become sinners the moment they willingly and willfully trust in somebody or something other than God.  Men become sinners the moment they rely on another than God.  Men become sinners the moment they obey another than God.  Men become sinners the moment they pay homage to another than God.  Men become sinners the moment they turn to another than God.  Men become sinners the moment they revere, respect, and serve another at the expense of God.  All unrighteousness, transgression of law, and faithlessness towards God is sin.  In Romans 14:23b, the Bible reads, “For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful].”  Also, in 1 John 5:17a, the Bible reads, “All wrongdoing is sin.”  Although sin has become popular today because the majority is doing it, sin has not become right!  God still forbids and condemns it.  Lying, immorality, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, envying, murders, drunkenness, immodesty, segregation, racism, and discrimination are still: barriers to the heavenly city, barriers to moral maturity, barriers to Christ-centeredness, barriers to a wholesome life, and barriers to cultivating character.  All sin must be put way, turned from, and repented of.  This is true of the world generally, and of us personally.  What the world does is not as important as what we do today about our sins.

We Must REPENT Of Biblical Traitorism (2 Timothy 3:1-5) 

The trend today is to eliminate the Bible as the center of religious life, eliminate it as the Supreme Court of final authority in all religious matters, and eliminate it as the supreme source of spirituality.  As a result, we have to contend with a mask of warring sects, conflicting creeds, religious racketeers, and unbiblical practices and principles.  We must get the Bible back into the center of our religious life.  Denominations exist because men, who profess to be followers of Christ, have not respected the Bible, but are traitors to it.  Both babies and adults are sprinkled because men have ignored, disbelieved, and disrespected the Bible.  Churches have ceased to emphasize the importance of saving souls from sin for Christ and are concerned more with social awareness and physical entertainment.  In some church buildings, more dances are attended than worship services, more bingo games than Bible, more dinners than training sessions, more movies than Sunday schools, more community conferences than prayer meetings.  The time is now when men and women of good faith need more and more to sing E.S. Lorenz, “Give me the Bible, teach me the danger of these realms below, the lamp of safety, Over the gloom shall brighten, that light along the path of peace can show.”  The Bible authorizes us being traitors against Satan, for this is called repentance, but we must not be traitors against God and His word or perish as a result thereof.

We Need To REPENT For Changing God’s Law 

God has commanded us, through Jesus Christ in Mark 16:16, “He who believes [who adheres to & trusts in & relies on the Gospel & Him whom it sets forth] and is baptized will be saved [from the penalty of eternal death]; but he who does not believe [who does not adhere to & trust in & rely on the Gospel & Him whom it sets forth] will be condemned.”  Men have not liked God’s way and have changed it to agree with their faulty, fallacious, futile ideas, and say, “He that believeth is saved and need not be baptized for baptism is not essential to salvation.”  This type of attitude is directly opposed to the command of Jesus, and those who teach the latter are guilty of changing God’s commands.  The tragedy of it all is, it provides a false sense of security, for people think they are saved, when, in truth, they are still lost, abiding in their sins. 

To those of us who value our souls need to adhere to the commanding advice of Christ Jesus, when He said, “REPENT” and with repentance having faith in Jesus Christ.  In John 8:24, the Bible reads, “That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be – if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins.”  Also, in John 20:30-31, the Bible reads, “There are also many other signs and miracles which Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book.  But these are written (recorded) in order that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Anointed One), the Son of God, and that through believing and cleaving to and trusting and relying upon Him you may have life through (in) His name [through Who He is].”  The Bible is the only book we can confidently follow, Christ is the only person we can spiritually and justifiably obey, and the church of Christ is the only church we can scripturally belong to and be saved in today.  How can we say NO to a Savior, who has said YES to us, by giving His life as a ransom for us?  If you are not a member of the Lord’s church, you have a choice to make today because tomorrow is not promised to us.  In James 4:13-14, the Bible reads, “Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such & such a city & spend a year there & carry on our business and make money.  Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow.  What is the nature of your life?  You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while & then disappears [into thin air].”  Where do we stand today?  Are we going to “repent” or “perish?”