About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. 2 “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? 3 Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. 4 And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? 5 No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.” – Luke 13:1-5
A mother calling to her son shouted, “Johnny, tell your sister to get in the house out of the rain.” “I can’t mom,” came the reply. “And just why can’t you?” demanded his mother. “Because we are playing Noah’s Ark mom, and she’s one of the sinners.”
We seem to take a sinister delight in distinguishing between the horrible sinners outside of the ark and the saints on the inside. There is a distinction to be made, if we consider the ark to be the family of the redeemed. But we should never do so proudly, nor joyfully. Why? Because when we do that, we are horrifyingly blind to the fact that the saints inside the ark are still sinners. Sinners saved by grace to be sure, but still, sinners. It didn’t take Noah very long after exiting the ark to prove the point.
In Jesus’ time, the self-righteous Pharisees (indeed the self-righteous saints all through history), felt that the message of repentance did not apply to them – it was only necessary for those sinners outside the ark. In many modern American churches, repentance is considered a valid topic if you’re preaching at the mission or on skid row, but not in the gathering of the saints. Billy Graham has said, “I have been shocked to find that the theme proclaimed so emphatically by the prophets and apostles is scarcely mentioned by contemporary preachers.”
When is the last time you repented? I’m not talking about asking for forgiveness…I’m talking about really repenting, to have a change of heart and decision, to set aside the dalliances of the sinful nature so that you can pursue God with a full heart?
PRAYER: Forgive our haughty pride that has declared ourselves to be better than those on the “outside”! Remind us of our sinfulness, lead us to true repentance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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