Repent or Perish – The Lord is Waiting
Repent or perish sounds so harsh. It sounds serious, and it is. Yet some would read those words and brush off their importance, discounting the impact on their life – their eternal life.
Today, the lesson comes from Luke 13. I read verses one through five and made some notes of what I saw. As I worked through the passages, the lesson took me to Old Testament Scripture and an old familiar story to many – the story of David and Bathsheeba found in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12.
First, let’s review the verses from Luke 13:1-5.
“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Here are some of my notes on the above passages.
- Jesus taught that some sinners are no worse than other sinners because they suffered. But that unless we ourselves repent, we will perish. Other people are not guiltier than we are. Like the fig tree showing no leaves after three years, we cannot continue in that state – a state of living with an unrepentant heart. If we do, we will perish.
- How gracious is my Lord that he would patiently wait? But at some point, His patience will come to an end. It will be for our refusal to repent (turn and go the other way), our refusal to acknowledge our sinfulness, and agree with God that we have sinned against Him. It will be a personal decision.
I mentioned earlier that this study led me to the passages in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and12. If you are familiar with David’s story, then you know David wasn’t always a saint in the eyes of the Lord.
As a matter of fact, David did sin in the eyes of the Lord, and those sins did not go unnoticed by our Lord.
If you have not read about David, I will encourage you to read those chapters for yourself. You might gasp at the seriousness of them. Then again, you may find a little common ground with David.
When caught in adultery and murder, David acknowledged his sin against the Lord when Nathan rebuked him. David didn’t argue or deny what he did. That is so refreshing to read. Instead, David confessed that it was the Lord alone he had sinned against.
The good news here? God forgave him.
However, God still disciplined David. Let’s look at a few of the verses together.
2 Samuel 12:9, “Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?”
2 Samuel 12:13, “Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
2 Samuel 12:13b-14, “Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”
2 Samuel 12:18, “On the seventh day, the child died.”
That the newborn baby would die as a punishment for the adultery and murder David committed. Or, as Samuel says, “by doing this, you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt.”
The Lord disciplines His children. There were consequences to David’s sins. And though David experienced the consequences, he still praised the Lord. Could you still praise the Lord?
2 Samuel 12:20, “Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions, and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped.”
Psalm 51 records David confessing and repenting for his sins against the Lord. If you haven’t read this Psalm, I encourage you to do so to get a better understanding of David’s repentant heart.
Psalm 51:4, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.”
When we acknowledge our sin before the Lord, we agree with His thoughts about it, His decrees, His Word.
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
We sin – we did the thing.
We should acknowledge and agree with God; it is wrong.
We should repent – turn from the sin it and not repeat.
We should accept the discipline that comes from God.
We should worship the Lord and not turn away.
Our sins are forgiven on account of Jesus. 1 John 2:2; 12
That’s great news!
I don’t know about you, but I am especially grateful the Lord loves me regardless of the horrible things I have done. I am also grateful for His discipline. God is a loving and merciful God, and He wants us to be holy like He is holy. We can’t do that if we are living in willful sin each day.
Is there something you are struggling with that you know does not please the Lord? Have you done something you wish you could undo? Are you still living an unrepentant life?
Make today the day you repent and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Don’t go another day believing the lie that the Lord will not forgive you. Don’t believe the enemy’s lies when he tells you it is too late for you or that you really screwed things up.
Be more like David and acknowledge your sin, repent, and praise the Lord for His forgiveness.
You’ll be glad you did!