Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Should God see things the same way I do? I might be tempted to think he should. Really bad people should be punished more severely. Really good people should be awarded more generously. There is only one problem. When I try to make God into something that makes sense to me, I make God out to be someone that he is not.
The Lord needs to see things from his perspective, and then, act accordingly. This was Jesus’ point when he addressed those who had questions about the people who experienced tragedies. The obvious conclusion was that they must have done something really bad to suffer in this way. Jesus corrects this faulty observation by returning to God’s perspective.
Jesus used words that were simple and direct. Don’t worry about those who died, rather worry about yourself. His concluding words were emphatic: “Repent or perish.” Jesus offered God’s perspective in a “nutshell.” He doesn’t fret about who is better or worse. He doesn’t agonize over which sin is greater or lesser. His perspective is to the point: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 6:23).
God’s perspective is what I need to take to heart. Instead of worrying if others are really bad, or if they are worse than I am, I need to recognize my personal accountability. I need to be in a right relationship with God. I also need to understand its God’s perspective that I be perfect (Matthew 5:48). God accepts nothing less.
The only way I can be declared perfect is through Jesus. As I repent of my sin, I need to draw on the holiness he secured for me through his perfect life, his innocent death, and his victorious resurrection. Then, and only then, can I stand before God as he desires.
Repent or perish. Looking at my life from God’s perspective is terrifying. It leaves no room for alternatives or arguments. This is exactly the way God intended it, and it makes me recognize the undeniable truth: I am powerless to change my sinful situation; I am incapable of attaining the perfection God demands; I am in desperate need of a Savior. Mercifully, God provided that Savior by sending his Son, Jesus Christ. As I repent of my sin and look to him for forgiveness, I will not perish, but I will have eternal life.
O gracious Lord, open my eyes to see my sin and guilt. Then, point me to the Savior you have provided. Purify me and make me yours for this life, and for eternal life. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.