Dear friend in Christ.
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, now and always, Amen.
As we continue fixing our gaze upon the Lover of our soul, who came not be ministered to , but to minister to us His grace, we find ourselves in the middle of a long dissertation by Him. He has been discussing various topics with His hearers as He journeyed closer and closer to the time when He would be lifted up above the earth in order to make all things new by delivering the forgiveness of sins to the world. Here is the text that we are going to use as our focus of meditation today, found in Luke’s Gospel 13:1-9.
KJV Luke 13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 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?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Jesus answers the first example and then provides a second happening that they must have been familiar with by telling them that their assumption was wrong. In the Gospel of John He also spoke to the same type of question.
KJV John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
He then turns to the hearers and tells them of the necessity of their repentance, or turning away from sin and to God for His grace of forgiveness.
There are two truths in Christianity that must be understood, believed and told to all: First: That Jesus Christ in His death on the cross brought us back to God so that sin is not imputed unto anyone anymore.
Second: That by believing (which involves repentance) this reality, we are counted as perfectly righteous even as Christ is.
Let us read two of the foundational texts which teach this reality:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
In both readings we see the reality of the reconciling work of Jesus which secured forgiveness for all, and those who believe the Gospel live in the joy of forgiveness. Those who do not believe that they are forgiven, are not forgiven.
What is repentance?
The Apostle Paul spoke of two types of repentance, one that is godly and the other that is of the world. One brings salvation, the other brings death.
1 Cor 7: 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Essentially true repentance means that we are sorry for our sin, we want to truly forsake it, and want to turn from it, yet recognizing that we may continue to struggle with it in our weakness. The sorrow of the world would be ‘getting caught’, but no sincere desire from the heart to change results. In this, we must never forget that as it is written:
Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
What is God’s desire for all of his beloved creations?
Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Jesus then speaks a parable which could be understood from the point of view that we have touched upon above. He wants all to come to believe in that which He will do (Has done) for all, He is long suffering, and adds at the end that today is the day of grace, not tomorrow, for tomorrow may never…….. He desires fruit, and that fruit is faith.
Luke 13: 6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Rejoice everyone!! For God has redeemed us through His Son, for He loves us deeply and wants us to live in the riches of His grace, free from bondage to self and sin, and freed to love others as we are loved.
So, dear one, let these words sink deep into your mind, into your heart and into your soul: You are forgiven for the sake of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work!! Believe it!!!!
The gracious peace of God be with you.