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The Importance of Repentance

In Luke 13:1-5, it is one of the fascinating points in Scripture that Jesus comments on from what He is being told. It is an event that seems quite obscure, not mentioned anywhere else nor by anyone else. Not much is known about it, but what we have been given in these five verses. Two events are mentioned to Jesus that have happened that they want His insight on. Knowing what was in men's hearts, (John 2:25) Jesus in His omniscience answers this with a question to their comment. The events are one of atrocity, and one of a natural disaster. We have seen many of both, Adolf Hitler, in Germany with the Jews, as an example, also the storms, hurricanes, tornadoes that take lives in natural disasters as well.

Jesus's question was, “Do you suppose that these (those who died) were greater sinners or greater culprits than others?” He knew that is what they were trying to get Him to admit to, that they were good and the ones who died were not, thinking more highly of themselves than they ought. We can see that by the word suppose. That meaning simply, a belief held without a proof, example that judgement comes to those who sin. Jesus is getting these to look at themselves and not others as we go along in the conversation. Two key words we need to hone in on. The first is in verse 3, repent, it is the Greek word “meta noeo.” Meta is as the word metamorphosis, meaning a change in something, and “noeo,” the Greek for mind. So, we get the word to come out meaning a change of mind. In Romans 12:2, we see the phrase "the renewing of the mind." It is a spiritual work of God by the power of the Holy Spirit that makes us alive spiritually.

English Puritan Thomas Brooks defines repentance like this, "True repentance is a continued spring, where the waters of Godly sorrow are always flowing. He that turns not from every sin, turns not aright from any one sin. Every sin strikes at the honor of God, the being of God, the glory of God, the heart of Christ, the joy of the Spirit, and the peace of a man's conscience, and therefore a soul truly repentant strikes at all, hates all, conflicts with all, and will labor to draw strength from a crucified Christ to crucify all." So, we can ask after these have died, why am I still alive? English Puritan Thomas Watson, "So we, knowing the shortness of our lives, and how quickly we may be called away by death, should fly so much the faster on the wings of repentance to heaven."

The second key word is perish, in verse 3 as well. The Greek word is “apolumi,” meaning to render useless. We see the word perish in John 3:16, John 10:28, 1Cor.1:18, Luke 16:19-31, and the only place that both our key words are mentioned is in 2Peter 3:8-9. We get an idea of this in the prodigal son in Luke 15:24, the word lost is used to describe his condition, it is the Greek word “apolisto.” He was lost and now been found. It is to render useless. If salt has lost its flavor, we can say that it is useless. It is not used as it was intended to be used. And with the chief end of man in the Winchester Confession of Faith stating that, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, perishing renders us useless for doing what man was cut out to do. Next week we will finish up our study of this fascinating passage!

Elder Randy Slak