Unless a man repents, he will perish just like everybody who rejected the warning from Jesus (Luke 13:1 – 5). Jesus warned that if they that were listening did not repent, they would perish (verse 5). Some translations refer to these people as those who remain in sin. In this context, Jesus is talking about physical perishing. Jesus cannot lie. If you don’t want to repent, you will die a terrible death just like the people He was talking about.
People that died from not repenting or living in sin
The message I get from this is that people who don’t repent or remain in sin are exposed to death in their none repentance. Paul spoke about people that die before their time, even in our churches today, because they do not honor the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:29 – 30). The Bible has many instances where people died just by committing sin. Lots wife as recorded in Genesis 19:17, 26 is one example from many. Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, as recorded in Acts 5:1 – 11 are another example.
The sinner and he who doesn’t want to repent
Who is a sinner? All people living in the world today are sinners. For it is recorded that all man has sinned and has fallen short of God’s grace (Romans 3:23). There is also none righteous, not even one (Romans 10:3). What then is this all about if no one can be counted on the safe? It is about me and you having the chance to repent as soon as we realise the need while we have a chance. Repentance is so urgent you have to do it immediately you realise its need, which is what makes one clean in the sight of God. God is slow to anger but death is the ultimate.
It is only grace that keeps sinners alive while it is God’s plan when believers die. I will expound more on this later in the article. It is worth noting that the sad point is that a man that dies in his none repentance or sin, that person goes to eternal death. i cover the subject of hell in a number of articles in this blog.
Who is one who doesn’t want to repent? It’s a person that conciously continue to live in sin. This person could be confessing before God every time s/he is reminded of the sin s/he lives in but still remain in it. An example is that of a person who continues to live with his or her spouse before marriage. Jesus has the ‘perishing’ message for such a person.
Lessons from Jesus’ words
Three lessons on repentance can be picked from this portion of scripture:
True repentance calls for total turn around from the current position. This message is not for the unconverted but to the converted too because with some people, their repentance is counterfeit. It is God who knows the authenticity of each of everyone’s confessions. If you confess because of any other reason other than turning to God’s total call for holiness, you cannot be saved. For example, many people when they see death fast approaching they tend to make the prayer of confession. This doesn’t work and it will not work for you either, simply because God is all knowing and He cannot be deceived.
Let me make an example of a man who hires a taxi to visit a married woman whose husband is away for a long time. Imagine if the taxi looses control and when it is just about to crush, the man prays the prayer of confession. God knows without a doubt what the man would do if the accident wouldn’t happen. He knows if the man would instruct the taxi driver to take him back or continue to meet the married woman. In other words, God knows if the confession is genuine or it is out of fear of death.
True repentance calls for a total turn around of things. True repentance must be proven by the way a persons lives afterwards (Matthew 3:8). John gives practical examples in Luke 3: 10-14 when he says, ‘if you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share with those who are hungry‘ When tax collectors wanted to know how to live right, John said that they should collect not more than what the government requires. Soldiers also asked the same question and John replied, ‘Don’t extort money or make false accusations. And be content with your pay‘.
Is repentance before God enough? Not at all, restitution follows. Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8 impressed Jesus when he voluntarily embraced restitution. Jesus could have exhorted Zacchaeus not to repay in multiple fold those he owed if restitution was not necessary. I have addressed the subject of restitution in the article “The Call to Urgent Restitution”.
Priority should be getting your own soul to a safe position with God. In this portion, we learn of some people telling Jesus about a sad story of Pilate murdering some people. They possibly were hoping for His judgement upon Pilate but Jesus further quoted another calamity that befell eight people that died from a falling tower. Jesus’ message was that of eliminating the risk to perish, at a personal level. It is not surprising that at one point Jesus said that let the dead bury their dead (Matthew 8:22). Jesus just didn’t entertain people who took interest in the death.
If it was today, and we came to Jesus telling Him of the Ethiopian plane crush where the culprit in our eyes are the manufacturers of Boeing 737, we’d be shocked at Jesus’ response. He could possibly say something like, “Do you think the several illegal miners (Jesus would know the exact number) that were trapped underground after a gas explosion on 6th February 2019 in Gloria mine were worse sinners in South Africa?” This view takes us back to the meaning of who a sinner is as already given above. He would have then continued to make His point, ‘I tell you again, unless you repent, you will perish, too‘.
The question then would be, ‘How about the Christians who could have been in the plane that crushed?’ Had they not repented that they were in the same plane with sinners? The answer is that every step of a righteous man is ordered by God. Death to a believer is the doorway to meet the Lord Jesus. Theirs is in plan and wasn’t at all a mistake. Let’s take the case of Stephen who was stoned to death and through that pain he said that he saw the Heavens open.
Confession was not Stephen’s priority but getting into Glory was in his mind. He was a Christian ready for rapture that could happen any time and therefore death was not a chance to confess before crossing over to the other side.
The calamities happening around shouldn’t surprise Christians. Often we have a reason for a calamity and forget the number one reason Jesus gave, ‘failure to repent’. Too many people die because of their failure to repent. They cause calamities for themselves and people around them.
I would like to conclude this article by saying that every moment is a possible rapture or death moment. Therefore, at all times be ready to meet Jesus when your time to die comes but not to repent. You better repent right away if you feel the need to do so in your heart. Ask for God to deal with your sins just now when all is well and fine. What is at stake for Jesus is your life not to perish.
A question for you
How many times have you been warned about your sin and yet you still indulge? In one or another, you have even been directed to scriptures about it and you know it is wrong. You may have preached to others knowing you live in this sin yourself. Don’t wait for death to approach before you deal with your sin because then it will be too late. Don’t you know that he who wants to make Heaven must live in holiness while there is no life threat at all? I encourage you to work at correcting your errors and ask God to help you.
A related video by myself is uploaded on YouTube. Its here:
Revised: 13th April 2019