I. The Call of Jesus
*RESPONSE TO HIS CALL
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he smith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
The call of Jesus comes, and is at once followed by obedience to the call—dropping all to follow Him. We see here the act of obeying by the disciples—the faith to answer the call, comes with the call. It is Jesus—Jesus Himself—who is calling, so the obedient response to the call shows us the absolute authority of Jesus as Jesus. The road to faith and to salvation, is obedience to the call of Jesus to follow Him into discipleship. These men dropped their lives and obediently answered the call of Jesus; there was no explanation to them, they knew not where they were going, nor what they would do when they got there; Their old lives are left behind, with all the consequences of them, left behind as well. The disciple is called out of his whole life of security, and into a life of temporal insecurity; there are now no goals, no methods, no reasoning—there is only the call of Jesus into the relative unknown, and that call is obeyed. The disciple is called into bondage into Jesus Christ and to Him alone, and to Him above all else, and everyone else. It is now Jesus and He alone that matters—everything and everyone else is forsaken. This is a call of complete detachment from all that is in the life of the disciple, and complete and total attachment to the Person of Jesus. See here the complete and total obedience—the disciple does not lay down the conditions of his discipleship to Jesus—i.e.—“I need to go talk to my family, friends, and pastor”—-there is only the call, and the call accepts only a single minded obedient response—to leave and lay down one’s life, and enter into the walk of discipleship at the call and direction of Jesus.
The call can be compared with the beginning of creation in that man without Jesus is truly “without form, and void” just as the earth was before Jesus said “let there be light.” So our heavenly Father speaks into the soul of man “let there be light”, and the Light of the world, Jesus, stands at the door and knocks. Jesus graces the soul to open the door and the sup begins, as does the “new creation.” And, as the earth started to bring forth her fruit following Jesus’ command, so do our regenerated souls.
Mere theological assent to this call of Jesus is not faith. Jesus is calling so as to effect complete moral change, a change brought about by His indwelling us– the Lord our Righteousness, the Wisdom and Power of Jesus. Salvation is more than a warrant to get us off the hook on judgment day. The call of Jesus comes with Power, not only in word, and when the call of Power is answered, He who is Power enters and abides. If there is no moral change, the judicial transaction required, has not taken place. After all, it is the Holy Spirit that comes to abide, and His perfect holiness is synonymous with moral purity which is absolutely necessary to validate true conversion. And the fact that the Holy Spirit is Jesus (2 Cor. 3: 17), tells us infinite and perfect moral purity has entered our spirits—for Jesus is holiness Himself.
Jesus’ word proclaims us free, but it is His Power that actually effects freedom. The Truth that sets one free has as His foundation perfect moral content which delightfully enslaves the spirit of its surrendered recipient, who is then started on the road of transformation. Inward gaze is transferred from self to Jesus who has entered the spirit, and this is the turning point in the call of Jesus: Life motive is changed. Though we still sin, we are no longer enslaved to it, and though ego still surfaces its glory is gone in the presence and Person of Jesus.
There are many branches on the tree of sin to be sure, but the root of that tree is “self” and it is in that root that the Cross must do its deadly work. Thus with the ax laid to self, we pursue Jesus with our whole heart, we, in this pursuit, are turned from self and the other idols that serve it, to serve the living and true God through the resurrected and exalted Jesus who lives in us. It is no longer “me” but “Thee”–Jesus’ call is to save us from ourselves and our sin, and the intention of the call is effectual to total deliverance–chains truly break as He reveals to the heart that we are in fact loved and accepted in heaven through His Blood. This begins the process of the healing of the will. By His Spirit we move toward total union with Him, and in this move our will is united with His. This is not mere consent on our part, but grace doing His wondrous work, to where the human will desires to become the will of Jesus. It is here we must pause to count the cost. If we choose to go on, we are then freed from being men pleasers to becoming Jesus pleasers and we are started on the road to being equipped by Him for ministry. It is here we keep in mind that Jesus, by His own Blood, entered in once into the holy place–not for Himself but for us. We go in by His Blood, not for ourselves, but for others. Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends. Laying down one’s life for his friends, is nothing more than total surrender to Jesus…..it is also nothing less.
The surrendered heart will perceive that Jesus is out to conquer us–body, mind, and soul. Jesus prevailed on Calvary in weakness; so us, for in our weakness only, is His strength made perfect. This conquering is unto salvation and ministry, working both in the temporal and the eternal. The more we are conquered by Jesus, the more of the temporal we are saved from and the more of the eternal we are given to. The more the soul is conquered by Jesus the closer it moves to Him and the farther it moves from the world–the nearness and distance being commensurate with each other. This conquering comes in the form of a breaking, where Jesus sovereignly erases our resistance and minimizes our strength–man’s hope and strength in his dying flesh must be shattered–the bread did not multiply until it “He” broke it. We must remember that it pleased God to bruise Jesus (Isa. 53); He learned obedience by the things He suffered (Heb. 5: 8), so us…..Such must needs be that the life of Jesus may resurrect in our mortal bodies. The completeness of that resurrection will parallel the territory conquered. The blessing and favor of Jesus will also be in proportion to the territory conquered.
The Cross that has saved us must also slay us and we must be willing to bear the reproach of it–death is the appointed way to Life, and we must remember that a resurrection of joy unspeakable and full of glory, awaits those who accept Grace, and pick up that cross in absolute, life-long surrender to Jesus.
Our struggle will continually be fought against the backdrop of the world.
The “world” is subject to its prince, and in reality is unregenerate human nature wherever it is found, whether it be at the corner bar or the corner church. Its life’s work is to loosen our grip on our cross. What we are up against is the spirit of the world–we loath liquor, gambling, and other manifestations of the spirit of the world, but we need to keep in mind it is the spirit of this world that we battle. The Pharisees are a good case in point–To bolster the word of Jesus, they defied His teachings; to persecute Jesus, they behaved like the devil; they bribed men to lie in defense of the truth. See the fierceness of this spirit, as it is still rampant and growing, despite putting to death the Son of God two thousand years ago–see it as Disciple men and women vie for power and position in the church…….see them hungering and thirsting for the honor which comes of men…….See the hard terms of the Gospel of Jesus watered down; see the prince who is the spirit of this world taking multitudes for company into Hell for eternity…….see the very sins that energized the hammer of the Cross.
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
When Jesus has called, our response must be positive and sure, lest we delay response and decision, and make Jesus stand again before the judgment seat of man. The call to salvation and ministry is completely of Jesus–no man can come to Jesus unless it is given him by God our Father (Jn. 6: 65); And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of Jesus, as was Aaron (Heb 5:4).Our acceptance of the call is a response to an action instituted by Jesus. It is Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of the faith unto salvation and service–it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing (Jn. 6: 33). The hand of faith must reach out and seize the Arm of Mercy when it beckons.
*THREE WOULD-BE DISCIPLES
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of Jesus.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of Jesus.
The first disciple offers his services to Jesus, without being called by Jesus; Jesus cautions him that he does not know what he is in for. Notice here that when Jesus called in our previous scripture, the men dropped their nets and their lives, and followed; they didn’t know what they were in for either, but it didn’t matter—-the unknown journey of the call has no consequence, because the grace to obey the call was in the call itself; in our current scripture, we see a man volunteering to discipleship with Jesus; Jesus knows that He and many of the disciples He calls, will end up crucified, and the way to that crucifixion will be one of suffering, shame, and rejection; perceiving this man could not handle it—the call of Jesus was not there, so the faith and grace to obey were not there—Jesus refuses his offer. See the difference between volunteering to discipleship, and being called to it. Discipleship is not an offer we make to Jesus, but an offer He makes to us. The command to discipleship goes hand in hand with belief—the two are inseparable. It is the heart that must be brought and surrendered to both.
The second would-be disciple in our scripture, wants to go bury his father before answering the call of Jesus—many have much to do to put off Jesus when He calls. By burying his father, the man would fulfill the commands of the law; but Jesus has fulfilled the law for all He calls, so he tells the man to let the dead bury their dead—absolutely nothing can be allowed to come between Jesus and the man He has called—not even the law itself.
The third man lays down his own terms for moving into discipleship. “Let me first”—I will follow you after I have gotten my house in order. In other words, I will dictate to you Jesus, how I will answer the call and how I will serve; again, see the difference between this man and the men who straightaway dropped their nets or left their lives, and immediately answered the call without comment or question. Our third man shows a double-mind—he will prove unstable for he ignores the authority of Jesus in the call, and lays down conditions for answering it. There can be absolutely no conditions in our response to the call of Jesus—such conditions put up a wall between the would-be disciple and Jesus, thwarting single-minded obedience. The call is to the plow of the harvest of souls at the direction of Jesus, and to that call there must be absolute obedience, and absolutely no questioning. Once the call to the plow is answered. There is absolutely no looking back. There is only Jesus, and what He is saying your duty is for the day. It is here that your joy will start its journey to fullness.
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
“Follow me.” This call cuts the would-be disciple off from his previous life; To stay focused on the previous life will make obedience and thus discipleship, impossible. Matthew left his tax desk, and Peter his nets—immediately and without question, and followed Jesus. See Jesus here as our Creator, re-creating lives. When we leave the previous life, faith is needed, and becomes possible. In the previous life, most of what we needed, we knew how and where to get, thus true faith was really not needed—we could provide for ourselves; in answering the call, we are thrust into total adherence to the Person of Jesus, most of the time not knowing where we will get what we need, only knowing—by the faith He gives in His call—that it will be provided by Him. The only way to our heavenly Father, is total obedience, love, and dedication to His Son. The faith that Jesus gives, rises, and follows Him. His call frees the disciple from all earthly ties, and binds him to Jesus alone. Faith thus graces the perceived risk in answering the call, and the disciple is brought into a life where Jesus, and faith in Jesus is all he has. We can only learn what obedience to Jesus is, by undertaking it—we can only learn obedience by obeying; Single minded obedience is the only Way to the Truth, and thus the only way to Life; any other way is a wide, broad road, and many there be that go therein—their vehicle being their doubting and their questions about the call; it is the heart that drops the net at the command of He who knows the heart; the first step of disobedience is balking at the command to drop it, and this balking brings disfavor from Jesus who is calling:
23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
When the rich young man refused to sell all he had and give it to the poor at the command of Jesus (Mt. 19: 16-22), it was a sin of disobedience; he doubts and starts reflecting on his perceived life of obedience to the commandments—he started reasoning with Jesus as to why he was ok in the sight of God. But when Jesus Himself—Jesus—commanded him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor, the rich young man turned and walked away in disobedience. Jesus did not go after him and soften His command; He let the young man go and did not commit Himself to the man (Jn. 2: 23-25).
Belief in Jesus is proved by taking the first step of obedience to His call into discipleship; that first step that leads to Jesus Himself and all He commands for becoming a disciple of His:
“……whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple……”
The first step is to come to Jesus, and ask Him to grace you to obey this command, a command that is designed to free the heart and the life from all that isn’t Him. Obedience takes its first step when a would-be disciple drops his or her net—immediately—and resolves by grace, not to pick it up again. This simple act of obedience to Jesus, puts the disciple in a situation where true faith can be born; true faith is thus sustained by staying in this position forever. For therein is the righteousness of Jesus revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom 1:17); this faith is not mere belief that Jesus is who He says He is; this faith comes straight from His hand when obedience is undertaken to make Him not only Savior, but Lord of every aspect of life. Only those who obey Jesus truly believe in Him—
He is the Author of salvation to those who obey Him. (Hebrews 5:9); The first step then is coming to Jesus to be graced to totally lay down one’s life to His direction and His service. There is no gray area here; It is in our total heart pursuit and apprehension of Jesus that we find He graces us to forsake all but Him. Voluntary deprivation of the temporal life is the means used by discipleship to work at the command of Jesus, to execute the will of Jesus. When we have resolved to take this step, opposition will come from all quarters. We must diligently pursue Jesus that He might grace us not to abandon what He has started in us. The twelve dropped all they had, immediately and followed. The call is still the same. If we doubt, or if we stop to reflect on the call, we will find ourselves in disobedience to it, and back under sin’s dominion. It is when we keep on posing questions about the call that we find ourselves escaping the call, and falling into disobedience.
The scarred Hands, the Side’s hole, and the Bloody Brow, await our decision—single minded obedience unto true discipleship, salvation, total and absolute submission to Jesus and His service, or, compromise unto judgment and condemnation.
*REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE ETERNAL
“…..and this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent……”
life– zoe- (dzo-ay’);
a) used of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Jesus in whom the “logos” put on human nature
b) life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Jesus, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last forever.
1) without beginning and end, what has always been and always will be
know– ginosko (ghin-oce’-ko);
1) to learn to know, to come to know, to get a knowledge by perception, to feel, to become known; to experience; 2) to know, to understand, to perceive, to have knowledge of;
In this verse, Jesus employs all the words in their strictest signification. First–“Jesus”–because He is the Savior who saves people from themselves and their sin, and frees them from being a slave to sin. Second–“Christ”–because He has the measureless fullness of the Holy Ghost, for the exercise of all His saving offices (Isa. 61: 1-3: Lk. 4: 18).
Here, Jesus implicates Himself as God with the Father, for knowledge of God, along with a creature, could not be eternal life, and such an association of the one with the other would be inconceivable. Thus, the “Life eternal” of which He here speaks, and which He says it is His proper office to confer, is no merely conscious, unending existence, but a life whose most distinguishing characteristic is acquaintance with the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with Jesus Himself as the Way to the Father, the Truth–the source of all that is truth–and the Life, For He is the Resurrection and the Life. To know the Father is to know Jesus as Savior and Lord, Mediator, Redeemer; without knowing Jesus, their is no knowing the Father–the perfect unity of the Trinity allows revelation of our Father through Jesus if Jesus is our Savior and Lord. The Justice of God demands that we know Jesus as Redeemer–and that the only way to eternal life is through Him–more accurately, life eternal lies in the believing knowledge of Jesus and God our Father; As we walk with them, we begin experiencing to a point, what that life is–it is by knowledge of Him that has called us–2 Pet. 1: 3; the fruit of this believing knowledge will be communion with Him, love for Him, obedience, faith, and trust in Him, and our total devotion to Him. The Father draws men to a relationship with the Son (Jn. 6: 44), that the Son may then reveal the Father and relationship with Him (Lk. 10: 22). This relationship is knowing both of Them–being in union and one Spirit with them, and this is life eternal–on that day we shall all look as individuals on that Face–some will have their faith confirmed by their sight and the knowledge it brings; others will be condemned by their sight and will perish because of the lack of knowledge it reveals:
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him (God) that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (I Jn 5:20).
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I Jn 2:3-4)
Repentance signifies “to change one’s mind or purpose,” always, in the NT, involving a change for the better, an amendment, and always, except in (Luke 17:3, 4), of “repentance” from sin. The word is found in the Synoptic Gospels (in Luke, nine times), in Acts five times, in Revelation twelve times, eight in the messages to the churches, (2:5) (twice), (16,21) (twice), RV, “she willeth not to repent” (2nd part); (3:3,19) (the only churches in those chapters which contain no exhortation in this respect are those at Smyrna and Philadelphia); elsewhere only in (2 Cor. 12:21).
In the OT, “repentance” with reference to sin is not so prominent as that change of mind or purpose, out of pity for those who have been affected by one’s action, or in whom the results of the action have not fulfilled expectations, a “repentance” attributed both to God and to man, e. g., (Gen. 6:6; Exod. 32:14) (that this does not imply anything contrary to God’s immutability, but that the aspect of His mind is changed toward an object that has itself changed,
In the NT the subject chiefly has reference to “repentance” from sin, and this change of mind involves both a turning from sin and a turning to God. The parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15: 11-32) is an outstanding illustration of this. Jesus began His ministry with a call to “repentance,” (Matt. 4:17), but the call is addressed, not as in the OT to the nation, but to the individual. In the Gospel of John, as distinct from the Synoptic Gospels, referred to above, “repentance” is not mentioned, even in connection with John the Baptist’s preaching; in John’s gospel and 1st epistle the effects are stressed, e. g., in the new birth, and, generally, in the active turning from sin to God by the exercise of faith (John 3:3; 9:38; 1 John 1:9), as in the NT in general.
Repentance is a turning away from sin, disobedience, and rebellion and a turning to Jesus (Matt. 9:13; Luke 5:32). In a more general sense, repentance means a change of mind and heart toward Jesus, a feeling of remorse or regret for past conduct (Matt. 27:3), and completely reversing that past conduct and moving into absolute obedience to Jesus. True repentance is a “godly sorrow” for sin, an act of turning around and going in the opposite direction, making Jesus not only Savior, but Lord. This type of repentance leads to a fundamental change in a person’s relationship to God, and it’s abiding is evidence that our Father has given grace to come to Jesus and make Him Savior and Lord. Repentance is a gift from our Father:
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Tim 2:25-26
In the Old Testament the classic case of repentance is that of King David, after Nathan the prophet accused him of killing Uriah the Hittite and committing adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. David’s prayer of repentance for this sin is found in Psalm 51.
In the New Testament the keynote of John the Baptist’s preaching was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). To the multitudes he declared, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8). When Jesus began His ministry, He took up John’s preaching of the message of repentance, expanding the message to include the good news of salvation: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel” (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:15).
In Jesus’ preaching of the kingdom of God is seen the truth that repentance and faith are two sides of the same coin: by repentance, one turns away from sin; by faith, one turns toward God in accepting the Lord Jesus Christ, making Him Savior and Lord. Such a twofold turning, or conversion, is necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:3). “Unless you repent,” said Jesus, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3,5). “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10).
After Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, His disciples continued His message of repentance and faith (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:21; 26:20). Repentance is a turning from wickedness and dead works (Acts 8:22; Heb. 6:1) toward God and His glory (Acts 20:21; Rev. 16:9) to and through Jesus; it is eternal life (Acts 11:18), and a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25). Repentance is associated with prayer (1 Kin. 8:47), belief (Mark 1:15), baptism (Acts 2:38), and conversion (Acts 3:19) and is accompanied by humility (Matt. 11:21). Repentance is God’s will and pleasure (Luke 15:7-10; 2 Pet. 3:9), as well as His command (Mark 6:12; Acts 17:30). It is a gift of His sovereign love (Acts 5:31; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25), without which we cannot be saved (Luke 13:3).
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
Baptism is the seal of repentance. Repentance, Faith, Holiness,, and new Obedience are to be its fruits. It is to be symbolic of the washing of the soul with the Blood of Jesus and the death of the old man, followed by the resurrection of the New. John baptized unto repentance–the washing as an outward sign……Jesus baptizes with the Holy Ghost and fire–impartation of the inward Agent–the Holy Spirit–Which effects in us, all that Jesus did for us; whose chief aim is to burn away all that is contrary, effecting the resurrection of Jesus in our mortal flesh. Fire makes all it burns, like itself, symbolic of the Lord as a consuming fire, making all He consumes, like Himself.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruit meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance………..
Holiness is the fruit of repentance. Complete moral change worked by the Holy Spirit is the evidence of repentance unto salvation. Repentance is the link which connects confession to the cleansing effected by the Blood of Jesus. The fruit of Godly sorrow and shame is guilt………….The fruit of Godly repentance has the sorrow, shame, and guilt washed from it. It is His Blood that lifts the head.
The ceremonial law required many washings or baptisms; John’s baptism made way for the remedial law of Jesus: repentance and faith unto salvation.
“We have Abraham to our father” (Vs 9)–Church membership does not entitle one to the advantages of the Covenant. “God is able of these stones to raise up children of Abraham ” (Vs 10)–The inference here is that the people John is addressing are as hard as the stones–the stones need no repentance, and God could immediately raise them into the twelve tribes of Israel (These stones are the ones Joshua set up for a memorial–Josh. 4: 20); The people are as hard as stones and do need repentance, but claim access to the throne by being the seed of Abraham. There is a plea here for these people (the trees), to see the ax poised to be laid to their root–certain death, for without the root, the tree will die–if they do not produce fruit meet for repentance–we must realize the day of our visitation and take eternal advantage of it. The gift unto the fruit is being offered by God–Today if ye hear His voice–if you will not hear His voice and seize the gift unto fruit that is meet, the ax shall meet you, be laid to your root and you laid to the fire–barren trees are dead and are fit for nothing but firewood. The fact that the root of the tree is hewn down speaks of eternal judgment, for if the root is taken, the tree will bud no more. The message here is one of utmost urgency and seriousness for– “Behold, I come Quickly”. (Rev. 3:11; 22: 7, 12, 20) Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. (Jer 6:8)
The fruit of true repentance shall be as wheat–valuable and able to be put to a multitude of use; the fruit of lip-service repentance shall be as chaff–of no use, easily carried about by the wind, and readily burnable. The Law exists to reveal the evil done by man from Adam-on….it reveals the need and glory of the remedy Jesus provides, contained in the mercy of God. Revelation of this “schoolmaster” is given to bring us to Jesus.
Like faith, Repentance without works, is dead…..Like faith, repentance finds its Authorship in the Lord. It is still now as it was then: the way of the Lord is prepared by repentance and the humbling of one’s self before Him. True repentance is not being sorry for sin and then persisting in it. It is a one-hundred and eighty degree turn from it:
“There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. ” (Luke 13:1-5)
Great sufferers are not necessarily great sinners………Many meet the furnace for repentance and purification, not consummation. The fact that Jesus uses two incidents and mentions the lack of repentance with perishing twice, shows the great importance He places on it. We all deserve to perish as they did–have our blood mingled with our sacrifices– but while we are still living and breathing, there is the opportunity to seize the Lord’s gift of repentance.
Jesus is saying the men that perished are not an example of divine vengeance, as the people imagined. What He is saying is that unless a man repent, he shall perish in a way just as awful as the Galilaens and on those whom the tower fell. In short, there is a terrible future for those who refuse His gift of repentance. What the Master is telling us here is to hear and fear—examine ourselves and repent, lest we also perish.
All this is not said with threatening motive, for Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it. It is said here twice, because the roaring lion is ever in our midst, and the justice of God will make way for his devouring the unrepentant. Here is the urgency of the Master’s call to repentance, for eternity is but one step away and who knows when Providence will allow for that step? We must come to grips with the fact that few there are that find and enter in by the straight gate and narrow way: that multitudes have chosen the wide gate–the broad way–have not repented and walked in the will of God, but have rather walked after their own thoughts into the horror of eternal destruction. We must realize that there is Wrath to come, and that wrath is justified in the rejection of grace offered to repent and be in union with the living Jesus. One must know that this wrath is in part directed at sin, but in a larger part directed toward he who rejects history’s heaviest Price for that sin.
Repentance is necessary, but must be viewed for what it really is–the vehicle that opens the door to more of the Person. Even repentance will beckon merit and therefore must be viewed as not an end unto itself, but a perpetual, necessary part of the process. Repentance in and of itself can be a killer, for many do view it as an end in itself, stopping the flesh-killing process when confession is made and repentance proclaimed, but not fully undertaken. True repentance reverses the action being repented of–this is faith with works, in action. While sin must be considered, when it is, the Blood of Jesus must also be considered. Many focus on sin, confession, and repentance, but there is no release, no freedom, as the false perception of guilt remains. The evil one has slipped into the midst. The Blood of Mercy is seldom counted in this phase of the walk, and as a result, confusion enters. This confusion comes wearing the garb of penitence and contrition, and moves toward self pity as its resting place. It is the evil one who blinds to His Blood and the power of it, and when the eye of the heart sees only penitence as its end, that eye has been made ready for the blindfold. Keeping the Blood of Jesus in focus, will destroy self condemnation, guilt, and confusion, if the heart is His:
History would tell us that multitudes that have gone before us have rejected this Gospel of repentance and faith, and that hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. (Isa 5:14). Even our loving God, complete with His infinite love and longsuffering, must turn to justifiable wrath, as Jesus continually stands before the judgment seat of man, only to be rejected again and again. Who knows when the measure for a man will be filled and the dam of wrath break upon him?
“O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer 4:14)
“…..The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel………….”