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What did Jesus mean in Luke 13:3,5, when He said "Except ye repent, ye shall likewise perish?"

Jesus was very unique in taking what people understood to teach them what they did not know or realize.

The people He was speaking to had just told Him about some Galilaeans who were slain by Pilate. They also added another disaster of a tower falling on eighteen men that were killed. They assumed that they must have been terrible sinners for this to have happened to them.

In John 4 He used Jacob's well and the water to teach a wicked women about living water that she could drink of and never thirst again, so here He does the same. What was a physical disaster He used it to illustrate eternal ruin.

He taught them that they had to repent of their own sins in order to be saved. This was His teaching to men everywhere. He said, "Repent and believe the gospel" Mark 1:15. The word repent means. A mind after God. It means to agree with God that I have sinned and come short of His glory. That I am a helpless guilty sinner before Him. It is the universal commandment of God to all men every where. (Acts 17:30)

The word perish means a loss of well being. It is used of the eternal miseries of being in hell forever. It is translated in Matthew 10:28, "destroy both body and soul in hell..."

So the word except makes His words an ultimatum. It is either repent or perish. That places the onus on man. You can continue in your sins and at the end of life you will perish or you can repent and trust in the sacrificial work of the cross and be saved. Acts 17:20,31, reads, "...but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."

Is He going to be your Saviour now, or your Judge later?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated March 13th, 2014 by Sandra Felix