A few words today, about the issue of repentance. There is an interesting passage tucked into the Book of Luke that we need to examine.
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.”
6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
In this amazing passage we see Jesus helping us understand that without repentance, we will most certainly perish.
The folks who were there with Jesus, brought up the fact that Pilate had killed some Galileans who were offering sacrifices to God. This was most likely an attempt to bait Jesus. The persons who brought this question were not disciples, but were mostly antagonists who wanted to show the injustice of God; after all, these Galileans were offering sacrifices to God, but apparently God was not able to protect them.
Jesus, knowing their intent, answers with a question, followed by another incident that everyone would have known about. Jesus then shared the parable of the fig tree.
This short parable is a warning to everyone who will listen to it. Just before sharing this parable, Jesus told those listening that if they did not repent, they would also perish; and he said it twice!
In the parable, the owner went out to see if his fig tree had any fruit on it; it did not. The owner was upset and wanted to cut it down; why should it waste good dirt. The fig tree did not bear any fruit for 3 years!
One hears John the Baptist’s voice echoing; Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Luke 3:8
We could argue that the owner is God Himself, and He sees no repentance, no fruit and He is ready to cut down the tree! However, there is a Gardener, perhaps Jesus, who speaks out on behalf of the fig tree; maybe you are the tree!
The Gardener says; let me have one more go at it! Give me one year; I will dig around, I will fertilize the tree, and I will do everything I can to get this to produce fruit; if it produces nothing after one year; then go ahead, cut it down.
In this little parable we see both the mercy and patience of God; but we also see there is a limit. A time comes when that tree, which has been fed, watered, and tended to for years, is determined to be of no value and is destroyed. The window of grace and mercy closes, and that chapter ends. What a sad ending indeed!
So, we need to repent, while there is still an opportunity to do so!
Definition of Repentance
METANOEO – compunction (anxiety arising from awareness of guilt) – reversal of thought, or change of mind.
Biblical repentance means to change your mind about sin, to have hatred towards it, and turn away from it. When the Spirit of God convicts you of sin, you have a feeling of compunction, a sense of OH BOY, I’m in trouble, and I know why!
At this point you have two choices, either agree that you have been nabbed (confess) or resist, and dig in your heels.
You may recall John the Baptist coming along, proclaiming the Way of the Lord. Repent; He declared, calling people to sorrow over their sin. What John was saying is this; the Lord is coming, He will be here soon, and you are NOT ready for Him. You are still in your sins, repent, recognize sin for what it is, recognize that you are a sinner . . . feel it! Know it! And repent!
Many of the people coming to John the Baptist did recognize it, and they came from all over the place to be baptized by John.
Let me ask you . . .
- Have you ever felt the need to repent?
- Have you recognized the seriousness of your sin condition?
- Do you KNOW you are a sinner?
- Does it bother you?
- Have you repented?
Please remember this; if you are still willfully engaging in known sin, you have not repented, and you are still in need of a Savior, who longs to help you, as soon as you come to your senses, and repent.
NO REPENTANCE – NO SALVATION
When true repentance happens, a change of heart and mind sets in that actually changes the entire nature of the individual affected.
False repentance is when a person is “caught” in a sin, and they feign sorrow about it. They might even weep over the situation that has unfolded. However, as time progresses, you may notice the actor will begin to minimize the indiscretion. They may say things like; “It was not as bad as it seemed” or “What I did was wrong, but not all that bad.”
Some will say; “Well, God seems to be blessing me.” Remember this; God makes the rain to fall on the good and the bad, the just and the unjust!
This is false repentance, which is no repentance at all.
What folks are trying to do is minimize their wickedness in the sight of man. They do not want others to think less of them because of a sin they committed, so they minimize it, and deflect responsibility, often pointing to the sins of others, declaring that there are not as bad as them..
Jesus shares another parable to help illustrate this very concept.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
When we try and deflect, when we try and minimize our sin, we exalt our own righteousness and goodness and it is, quite frankly, a stench to God.
True repentance happens when we take complete responsibility for our actions and humble ourselves before God. If someone was responsible for bringing to light our sin, we would thank them as one saving our very life!
True, heartfelt repentance, brings about a dramatic change and a sense of God’s Spirit in a way that was never felt before. For the truly repentant, when opportunities to sin present themselves in the future, an entirely different scenario unfolds, one in which we see things from God’s perspective and not from a carnal, or earthly perspective.
It is time for true repentance to happen; or risk being cut down, and thrown into the fire; which will it be for you?
On this Day, Good Friday, many years ago, the same crowd who was previously chanting Hosanna, would be shouting “crucify Him.” When they realized that Jesus was not going to lead a revolt, that He would not miraculously deliver Israel from the Romans, they quickly turned, and followed the religious rulers of the day.
None of this deterred Jesus, He was on a mission, a mission that would lead Him to the Cross, where He would willingly lay down His life for all of humanity. He would do it for His friends, and for His enemies alike.
Jesus was on a mission to change forever the power structure in the heavenly realms. The devil who had so deceived and tormented humanity, was about to be crushed. The victory that Jesus would bring through His death and resurrection would not only affect that current generation, but would echo throughout eternity, to every generation, the same. Praise the Lord!
- Have you been looking for a deliverer?
- Are you tired of playing the same old “religious” games?
- Are you looking for real transformation?
- Are you ready for a change in the power structure of your life?
- Do you feel as though your life is being held in bondage to sin?
- Jesus is still the great deliverer! He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the powerful work of the Cross is still having an effect today.
God loves you so much, that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to take upon Himself a penalty for your sin, that you are unable to pay. Turn away from your sinful life to Jesus and LIVE! The window of opportunity is closing rapidly, don’t wait another day!
The choice is yours . . . choose well.