Call – Opelika-Auburn News
and sanctified Christians need to repent
It is dangerous to become so holy
that you think you never need to repent of your sins. Yet some believers think
they are so sanitized and sanctified that they have stopped sinning. But if I
know anything about the Bible, repentance is not a “once and done” experience.
Instead it is a continuing necessity, lifelong, for even the most devout
A healthy way to study the Bible is
to ask, “Is Jesus speaking to me in this passage?” Read, for example, Luke 13
where Jesus says, “I tell you, unless you repent, you will all perish.” Is this
just a story or is Jesus speaking also to you and me when he makes the above
answer, I believe, is that Jesus is speaking to you and me as well. Obviously
he was speaking to all who were present back then but now we are in his
audience. We too shall perish unless we repent. We can ignore God’s agenda just
as the Galileans did. We also can find it so difficult give up our own plans that
we fail to put God’s plan on the front burner.
we are persuaded to repent, what do we do? What does it mean to repent? To
repent is to turn around, to admit we are going in the wrong direction and
begin moving in the opposite direction.
repentance is much more than regret. We may indeed regret having screwed up our
lives through sinful indulgence, insisting on our own way. But true repentance
moves us to forsake our way and embrace the Way of Jesus. We reverse our
direction and our destiny by accepting the grace of a new beginning. And even
the life of the saintliest among us is a series of new beginnings.
Wesley believed that repentance was a continual necessity for believers. Even
though we have been born again Satan continues to pull us back to the old way.
Pride can cause us to fall away from the way of the cross. We can get so
enmeshed in church “work” that we forget why we are doing it – and begin to do
it for all the wrong reasons.
our need for continuing repentance, the Church has long invited us to the
Lord’s Table for communion with these words, “You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins,
draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort.” The words
of the ritual may change but the invitation to repent remains.
do well to examine the word “perish.” It is an awful word. It means much more
than to die; it means to die without God and without hope. We remember that
Jesus used this awful word a second time – in the famous verse John 3:16 -- For God so loved
the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall
not perish but have eternal life. Even modern translations retain the use of the word “perish.”
Clearly to perish is to experience eternal separation from God.
The alternative, to not perish, is to receive the gift of eternal life and
“enjoy God forever.” Grace makes it possible for us to believe in Jesus for even
faith is a gift. Life is gift and new life is the gift of grace.
Faced with the choice of repent or perish, who in his right mind
would want to risk going out into eternity without God? Still multitudes prefer
their way to the Way of Jesus. Why? The Bible says the reason is blindness. The
“god of this world” blinds the eyes of those who refuse to believe. This
blindness causes many people to see no reason to take Jesus seriously. They
reason that this world is all we have and life ends in the grave.
Jesus told the parable of the fig tree. What does it have to do
with repentance? The picture Jesus gives us is this: God is the owner of the
vineyard, Jesus is the gardener, and
In this parable Jesus offers mercy – one more year, more time to
get it right. Indeed Jesus is the Mercy of God in a person, once alive in flesh
and now alive for evermore as Resurrected Savior. The offer of mercy can
motivate us to repent, change our direction and begin fulfilling the purpose of
our lives – to bear fruit for the