Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Necessity of Repentance

The Necessity of Repentance
J. C Ryle (1816-1900)

"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."—Luke 13:3

The text that heads this page, at first sight, looks stern and se vere: "Except ye repent, ye shall all perish." I can fancy some one saying, "Is this the Gospel?" "Are these the glad tidings? Are these the good news of which ministers speak?" "This is a hard saying, who can hear it?" (John 6:60).

But from whose lips did these words come? They came from the lips of One Who loves us with a love that passeth knowledge, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They were spoken by One Who so loved us that He left heaven for our sakes—came down to earth for our sakes—lived a poor, humble life for three-and-thirty years on earth for our sakes—went to the cross for us, went to the grave for us, and died for our sins. The words that come from lips like these must sure ly be words of love.

After all, what greater proof of love can be given than to warn a friend of coming danger? The father who sees his son tottering to ward the brink of a precipice, and as he sees him cries out sharply, "Stop, stop!"—does not that father love his son? The tender mother who sees her infant on the point of eating some poisonous berry and cries out sharply, "Stop, stop! Put it down!"—does not that mother love that child? It is indifference that lets people alone and allows them to go on every one in his own way. It is love, tender love, which warns and raises the cry of alarm. The cry of "Fire! Fire!" at midnight may sometimes startle a man out of his sleep—rudely, harshly, un pleasantly. But who would complain, if that cry was the means of sav ing his life? The words, "Except ye repent, ye shall all perish," may seem at first sight stern and severe. But they are words of love, and may be the means of delivering precious souls from hell.

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