God’s Patience Has a Limit!
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Luke 13:1-9, Luis Cruz, GCF Durham
God’s grace has been abused by so many Christians. Some thought that because God has forgiven all their sins, there is no need to repent and confess their sins anymore. Repentance and confession are still required from us because God’s patience has a limit. He can discipline His children according to Hebrews 12:4-12. God disciplines us to teach us to give a high value for His word and become the kind of people that He wants us to be. On the other end of the spectrum, are the unbelievers. God displayed great patience to all people, including those who are outside the faith. But God’s patience is not unlimited! The author of Hebrews reminded his readers this way, “27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28
1. Jesus calls people to repentance.
“’Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 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? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Metanoo (Greek) – to change one’s mind, to agree with God.
To change one’s behavior.
2. God’s patience is not unlimited.
“6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”
God is the owner of the vineyard
Jesus was the caretaker as He came for spiritual harvest.
Fig tree symbolizes the Jewish nation.
Three years represent Jesus’ earthly ministry.
To cut down the fruitless tree symbolizes God’s judgment.
3. God has set a time of judgment.
“‘8 Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:8
Unrepentant, thus, unpardonable
Romans 2:5-6, “5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”
Living on borrowed time.
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon." Isaiah 55:6-7
Borrowed time is shorter than we expect.
“8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:8-9
Here’s my challenge for all of us:
Repent while we still can. You’ll never know when our time is up. It might be too late for some. But for you, who are still here, able to hear, able to decide, you do it now.
Make wise use of your borrowed time. Learn more about God. Nurture your relationship with Him. Be the kind of person God wants you to be. Life is not just about eating and drinking and be merry.