Devotional 12: “Unless you repent…” (Luke 13: 1-5)

Repent or Perish

13 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Lord Jesus dispels the concept of ‘worse sinners’ receiving ‘worse punishment’ (except when he berates the cities that didn’t repent and believe in Him though he performed works in them; Matthew 11: 20 – 22)

The key is to repent, but today, in addition to not wanting to call sin, ‘sin,’ we remain unsure of what that means or looks like.

Various definitions and parameters set by denominations only serve to confuse us further.

Hollywood portrays it as just a matter of saying ‘I’m sorry.’ That’s an apology, not forgiveness.

Sins, once committed, can’t be undone, and as Paul says, the battle between flesh and spirit is one we will fight until our final day. But as he also says, we’re not to go on sinning so grace may abound (Romans 6:1)

Proverbs says we will perish ‘without remedy’ (Proverbs 29:1) if we keep hardened necks and refuse to bow.

We must confess (agree with God you’re in sin, then confess to God, and to our brethren, not to a priest; we have a high priest that has made atonement already).

It is simply not possible without God’s help to live a sinless life, but we can get as close as we ever will if we keep our vision focused, guard our hearts, place a watch over our mouths, and make a covenant with our eyes. These will be imperfect, but we are called to come out of the world, and so we must do our best, and repent when we fail at that.

Therefore I pray.

I thank You, O Lord, for your long-suffering mercy.

Without it, for the things I’ve looked upon, I should be struck blind.

For the things I’ve coveted, I would lose my hands.

For the unforgiving hardness of my heart, which was once softened by the healing balms of Your mercy and grace toward me, and once basked in the warm promises of Your holy Word, I would burn eternally for having turned my lukewarm back to You, to revel in worldly pleasures, mocking Your sacrifice and the coming Judgment.

And like King Saul, die in my sins of disobedience, having played the fool.

Therefore now, Lord Jesus, I come once again to You, reeking of the world, unable to stand in Your presence, to ask once more, like a beggar, for you to clean and purify me, that I may stand among the spotless and blameless of Your selection, before the white throne, where the children of the Lord, the sons and daughters of the king, the righteous, do not beg.

Forgive my doubting, help my unbelief, and rub the mud of Your mercy over my spiritual eyes, so they would open more fully, be more perceptive and discerning, and bold to test, rebuke, cast out, and restore to Yourself a straying soul.

 I would not be a greater sinner in Your sight, that I would perish from Your sight forever.

Remember me, O Lord, when  You come to claim Your bride.

Or let me meet you in the air, beloved Savior, and pull me from this hellish husk of flesh; cast my sins from me, and dry my tears that I may dwell in the House of the Lord forever, because Your goodness and mercy followed me all the days of my earthly life, into eternal life.

By the Power of Your Holy Name, I ask it,

Amen

 

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