The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 76

Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 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? I tell you no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13: 2-5).

The ancients believed that terrible calamities befell only those who were terribly sinful. That’s why one of the first questions that the disciples asked Jesus about the man born blind was “ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Jn.9: 1,2). Job was accused falsely by Eliphaz on the same basis. But Jesus pointed out that all are sinners who must repent or face a fearful end.

The key, therefore, to not facing a fearful end, is not whether your sins are little or big. The key is whether there is true repentance or not! The message of repentance if preached at all, is (sadly) misrepresented or at the very least, watered down. Sin is nothing anymore and God’s grace is cheap! Jesus died for you! Just believe! With no qualifications on Salvation, the devil himself may well be saved!

You see, the qualification is ‘repent and believe’. Both are necessary, and both are on-going in the life of the one who professes to be a ‘believer’. Repentance and believing are continual states of being, not ‘one-off’ occurrences. Therefore a refusal to ‘ truly repent’ really negates your ‘believing’.

What do I mean by true repentance? True repentance comes from a sorrow for sin itself. When Job and David cried out “I have sinned” they did it from the anguish of heart that they felt for having offended God. When the prodigal son returned to his father, his confession was likewise from a sorrow toward his father for his sin.

But there are numerous examples of false repentance too. These expressions of repentance do not come out of belief but out of self-motivation. Pharaoh’s cry “I have sinned” came out of his fear of the terrible plagues that had come upon Egypt, not sorrow for sin (Ex.9:27). Achan said, "I have sinned”, not because he was sorry for his sin, but because he was caught. He hoped that his ‘forced’ confession might somehow reduce his punishment (Josh.7:20). King Saul’s confession “I have sinned” was nothing more than remorse at his being rejected by God (1 Sam 15:24). And Judas’ confession of sin was a cry of despair resulting in his suicide.

There is a sorrow over punishment of sin and a sorrow for sin itself. True repentance is the hallmark of every believer. We must remain qualifiers.

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues