From Luke 13:1-5 this article shows that all people are faced by an urgent call to repentance.

Source: The Youth Messenger, 2014. 2 pages.

Luke 13:1-5 – Christ’s Urgent Call to Repentance

Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Luke 13:3b, 5b

Since we live in a media-saturated world, we now have round-the-clock news coverage of any calamity that occurs anywhere in the world. When a monster hurricane recently struck the Philippines, we knew very quickly that many thousands had perished as a result of this devastating storm. We also know that more than 100,000 persons have perished as a result of the brutal civil war that is raging in Syria. When such tragedies occur, there are always those who, like Job's friends, jump to the conclusion that there is a particular reason why God brings judgment upon those who perish or are grievously afflicted as a result of such tragic events.

We also encounter such reasoning in Luke 13:1-5. Some Jews inform Jesus of the moral tragedy of Pilate's brutal slaughter of the Galileans who had come to Jerusalem to commemorate the Passover. The omniscient Jesus knew what these Jews were thinking, and He therefore asked them, "Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?" He then warns them that they will perish in like manner if they do not repent. To underscore what He is saying, Jesus then reminds these Jews that residents of their own city, Jerusalem, had also recently perished when the tower of Siloam suddenly collapsed upon them. Again, He asks the same question: "Think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?" And for the second time He warns them that they will also perish if they fail to repent.

The lesson that we should learn from this ought to be obvious. When moral or nat­ural tragedies occur, Christ forbids us to speculate about the specific reason why humans perish suddenly during such calamities. When men perish, they always perish because they are sinners. The Bible clearly tells is that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and therefore no sinner ever dies unjustly. Rather than speculating why some die so suddenly, tragically, and often prematurely (by our standards), Christ teaches that we should examine ourselves, asking the question whether we are prepared to meet God, should death suddenly overtake us.

My dear young friend, the question you therefore need to consider today is whether you already have repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only One who can save you from your sins. If you have not, then you too will perish, should you die suddenly – that is, you then will also open your eyes in hell, along with all the sinners who die without having repented.

Perhaps you ask, "What is repentance?" Let me answer that question as simply and directly as I can. In the most literal sense of the word "to repent" means to change your mind about God and His Word. Such a change of mind always occurs when sinners begin to believe God and His Word, and thus when they begin to take God and His Word seriously. This, in turn, will result in a radical change of behavior. Instead of indulging in sin, either openly or secretly, a repenting sinner will flee from sin. Just like the prodigal son, he will forsake sin and return to God, and the prayer of the publican will then also become our prayer, "God, be merciful to me the sinner."

Only when we take God and His Word seriously regarding our sinful state, will we take the gospel message that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners seriously (1 Tim. 1:15). In other words, repentance is ultimately an act of faith, for to repent is to believe what God says in His Word – to believe what He says regarding Himself, His law, and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I therefore must ask you the urgent question: have you already repented? Are you taking God and His Word seriously, and are the fruits of such repentance visible in your life? Or do you still take God and His Word for granted? Do God's warnings and the gracious invitations of His gospel still fall on deaf ears? Are you still moving in the wrong direction, and thus away from God rather than toward God? Are you still unconverted because of your unbelieving heart? In spite of all your covenant and gospel privileges, must it still be said of you that you make God a liar by not believing the record He has given of His Son (1 John 5:10)? If this is still so with you, then you are in danger of perishing, and the words of Proverbs 29:1 could also become a reality for you: "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

Therefore, while God still proffers peace and pardon to you, do not harden your heart. Take seriously the God who has no pleasure in your death, but rather that you would repent and live. Even to you He is saying today, "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will you die (or perish)?" It is the Savior of sinners who says to you with all the love of His heart, "When you consider all the calamities that happen in the world, you need to recognize that unless you repent, you will likewise perish."

I urge you to repent by taking God and His Word seriously, for when you do, you will experience that whoever comes to Him He will in no wise cast out.

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