Did you know that God has placed a time limit on repentance? The old, tired, worn-out, classic excuse, “I’m working on it,” won’t get it any more, as we will see. I do not know how long that time period is, but the parable of the fig tree is one indicator:
Luke 13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung [it]: 9 And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.
Remember the parable of the sower who sows seed. There were four categories. See Luke 8:5-8. Verse 5, “seed by the wayside” is devoured by the birds and does not even sprout. Verse 6, seeds fell on a rock, sprouted, then died due to lack of moisture. Verse 7, seed fell among thorns and grew until the thorns choked it to death. Verse 8, good seed produced 100 fold.
A fig tree can only start from a seed or a sprout from another fig tree. The seed is sown, and a period of years pass during which the fig tree grows to the age to produce good quality fruit. This fig tree is one of the categories which does produce SOME GROWTH. After we reach this stage of maturity, we had better start producing fruit–GOOD fruit.
The land owner (the Father) said to the dresser of the vineyard (Christ), “For three years I have looked for fruit from this tree (Christian).” After this Christian has reached the age of maturity to be expected to produce good fruit, is the Father less patient with humans than Christ? Notice how He orders the tree cut down. Christ intercedes for the Christian and gains him an extra year before he is cut down (off).
Digging and dunging, Christ turns up the heat trying to get that Christian’s attention. But, if He does not get that attention, that Christian will be cut down at the end of the fourth year. Notice, the rules are not slackened or changed. The Christian MUST CHANGE. Is this not a definite time limit on real repentance?
Look at Revelation 3:20:
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Christ is standing at the door of our minds and knocking, standing patiently, like each of us has done at some time in our lives, knocking on the door trying to get the attention of someone inside.
Notice, He doesn’t force the door open or kick it down in order to force salvation upon us. The person inside has to be alert, tuned into Godly things in order to hear the knock. The person has to HEAR the knock and the voice calling out and MAKE A WILLFUL DECISION to let Christ inside, just like you do your own door at home.
Now, how do we hear Christ’s voice in this age? Is it not through God’s pure, written word, and nothing else? If that word goes through the mind and mouth of a human, it can suffer pollution or deformity. What has been your reaction to God’s written voice when a new point of truth or understanding is presented that DID NOT come from the “minister of your choice”? Is Christ knocking, trying to get you to hear his voice through the pure written word?
To become like God in the resurrection, we have to THINK like God. His thoughts are WRITTEN in the Bible.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
How long will Christ KNOCK, trying to get our attention? There IS a set time, which we will see in the next example. Look at a verse in which God designates a time allotted to repentance:
Revelation 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
“Space” is Strong’s #5550, meaning, “a space of time.” NIV reads, “I have given her time.” Amplified and NAS read, “I gave her time…”
God will work with humans as long as there is any hope of change, until he runs into the “human immune system” which stops God cold. Humans are immune to God’s truth for various reasons. For example, “My group doesn’t teach that,” or, “If this is true, God will reveal it to my minister,” or, “I really don’t think it means that.” That is how the truth is reasoned away.
Didn’t we just read in Revelation 2:21 that God sets a time period in which the person MUST REPENT or face the awful penalty for sin? The next two verses describe THAT PENALTY for that particular case:
Revelation 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Notice in verse 23 the warning to “all the churches.” WE are in one of the churches, and the time limit applies to US. God also applies this same rule to the world at large in Revelation 16: 7-9:
Revelation 16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous [are] thy judgments. 8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
Unless the person repents, God turns up the heat:
Revelation 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Even after God has turned up the heat, these people are STILL giving God BIRDIES WITH BOTH HANDS.
Another clear example is Matthew 25:1-13, parable of the ten virgins:
Matthew 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. 3 They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Notice that in verse five, all ten virgins are asleep. Then a certain set of circumstances wakes everyone up in verses 6-7. (I will deal with this “cry at midnight” in another article.) I sincerely doubt that they will ALL wake up at precisely the same moment, however they ALL do start to repent in verse 7. The oil represents the Holy Spirit and the five foolish virgins were inadequately supplied, for they tried to BORROW oil from the wise ones. Instead, the wise virgins send them to the suppliers of oil, the “spiritual leaders.” The foolish ones go to their ministers saying, “Teach us. We don’t have the necessary equipment to meet the Bridegroom.” But these MINISTERS ARE ALSO WITHOUT OIL, else why did God have to send Elijah to prepare a people for the Lord?
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
While the foolish are away seeking more oil (Holy Spirit), Christ returns, the door is shut, and the foolish virgins HAVE MISSED THE RESURRECTION! Their TIME LIMIT on repentance has RUN OUT!
Verse 11: “Afterward” is Strong’s #5305, meaning “More lately, i.e., eventually; – afterward, (at the) last (of all”). The foolish virgins come beating on the door of the banquet hall wanting inside to receive salvation with their tired, worn out excuse, “I’m working on it.” What IS Christ’s response? Verse 12, “I don’t know you.” (NIV).
WHAT A TERRIFYING THING TO CONTEMPLATE! HALF of the church as we know it today, that are still virgins and have not forsaken their salvation already, will go right up to the time of the resurrection THINKING THEY ARE SPIRITUALLY OKAY, only to have Christ declare to their faces, “I know you NOT.” WHAT A TRAGEDY!
What about YOU? Will you believe God’s pure written WORD, or will you reason it away, especially when it conflicts with what “the minister of your choice” teaches? If not, you are standing on the brink of the lake of fire. God is not playing games with humanity. HE DOES NOT NEED US. WE need HIM. Be careful that YOUR time limit on repentance does not run out. Don’t be deceived. Our judgment is from the WRITTEN WORD:
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were JUDGED OUT OF THOSE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS, according to their works.
© Edgar Y. Bennett
PO Box 509
Black Hawk, CO 80422 USA