Repent or Else

Revelation 2:5 – “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Jesus is speaking here to one of the truly outstanding Churches of the New Testament era, the Church at Ephesus. This Church was commended for its labor and endurance, but they were reproved because they left their first love. The Lord told this Church to “repent, and do the first works; or else….” God was giving them an opportunity to repent, but at the same time, He was giving them an ultimatum. If they did not meet His conditions by repenting of their indifference and waning devotion, there would be serious consequences. One can be assured that these were not idle demands. God expected a prompt response, or else they could expect His correction.

Thank God that He is loving and merciful, but we are reminded in this Scripture that He is serious about sin. He will not let sin go without reproof and correction. He said to the Church at Ephesus, “repent…or else.” How much clearer could this be? Where could anyone get the idea that God will not or should not judge sin? It is a notion that is foreign to the Word of God. He judged the world in Noah’s day. He judged Sodom and Gomorrah. He judged Achan and Korah, with their families, for their disobedience and rebellion. He judged David for his sin. He judged Moses for smiting the rock. He judged Miriam for her rebellion toward Moses. He judged those who complained in the wilderness, sending fiery serpents among them. He judged Cain for slaying Abel. He judged Jonah for running from his assignment. He judged Ananias and Sapphira for their hypocrisy.

God has not changed. He will not ignore disobedience and rebellion in His children. He loves us too much to allow us to continue going in a direction that is harmful to us. Churches should take heed to this warning as well. He told the Church at Ephesus in our Scripture that if they did not repent, He would “come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.” He would not continue to bless them and their ministry. Churches should not think that they can change their message, forsake the principles of the Word of God, and grow cold in their love for the Savior without serious consequences.