From the outside, the house looked new and beautiful. Its façade was flawless; the gardens simple, but attractive. One would not expect that inside this lovely home dirty dishes were a mountainous heap on the counter and in the sink. The potent smell of an unaltered cat lingered on the piles of newspapers, boxes, unfolded laundry, and ratty furniture. From floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall, the house was packed with items, too many and too miscellaneous to name them all.
A knock came on the door, and Marion’s heart seized. She feared visitors. Though she knew her house was an embarrassment she never cleaned it. She claimed to be too tired after a long day of work, or she’d claim she was too busy, but down deep the real reason was because she was lazy. She didn’t want to clean, and it was easy to hide the mess; so long as no one could peer in, no one would ever know what state this sad, sad house was in.
Marion opened the door. There on the porch a gentle-appearing man introduced himself as the building inspector. At this point in time Marion wished she could disappear, or better yet, make him disappear.
His name was Joshua. The Board of Health gave him the authority to determine whether or not houses were fit for habitation and they gave him the power to condemn homes if they didn’t meet proper expectations.
Marion had no choice but to allow him into her home. Unlike her friends, this man had the power to peer into places no one else could–or was allowed–to peer into.
With Joshua in her house all her senses were heightened. She could smell the mildew, the cat pee, and every mess looked ten times worse than it had in the past.
Not only did he notate the junk filling every room, but he noted the fact that the roof leaked in various parts of the house, that rats had chewed holes in several walls, and that bugs of all sorts lived in the garbage.
“This house isn’t livable,” he finally said.
“No, please don’t condemn my house!” Marion clasped her hands. He looked like a soft man whom she hoped would show mercy. “I’ll clean the entire house out. I’ll fix the walls and the roof and hire an exterminator! I’ll fix the cat. Give me some time and I’ll have this house perfectly clean!”
“Marion, I didn’t come here to condemn the house but to try and save it. But I will return again and everything you said better be done. If it’s not, then the place must be demolished. Once match would do the job.”
Marion agreed to the terms, and Joshua left. She didn’t know when he intended on returning so she started cleaning right away. Marion did everything she said she would do and more. She laid down new flooring and put up new wallpaper. The building inspector didn’t return for years. Marion waited patiently, always keeping her house clean. By time he returned, Marion was an old lady, and the house didn’t even look the same.
The building inspector was very proud of Marion, and Marion thanked Joshua for coming in the first place. She felt so much better living in a clean house. She was no longer in constant fear of what others would think. And now she felt confident about entertaining her friends every weekend.
“I could never go back to that way of life.” She lowered her eyes sheepishly. “Would you–would you like to come for dinner Friday night?”
The building inspector smiled. “I would love to come in and sup with you!”
* * * *
In this parable, Christ is our Building Inspector and the house represents the temple of God; the mess within the house represents sins.
1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (See also 1 Corinthians 6:19)
Mark 7:20-23 “. . .That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Christ (or the building inspector in this story) came “not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:47-48)
Take note of that final clause, the word that I have spoken, the same shall JUDGE him in the LAST DAY.
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. . . . 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Also take note of what is said at the end of verse 12, everyone–small and great–were JUDGED according to their WORKS. We will not be judged according to our faith! but according to our works. As it’s said in James, faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)
Luke 5:32 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
According to Strong’s Concordance the word repentance (Greek ‘metanoia’ 3340-41 means 1.) to think differently 2.) afterwards, reconsider 3.) compunction (for guilt including reformation) by implication, reversal (of decisions) 4.) a change of mind.
It’s interesting to see the prefix ‘meta’–a preposition meaning ‘after’, ‘beside’, ‘with’–used in words like the English metamorphosis, or the Greek metabaino meaning to change place, depart, go, pass, remove.
Other Greek Words Include:
- Metaballo: to turn about in opinion–change mind.
- Metathesis: (of a law):–changing, removing, translation.
- Metairo: to betake oneself, to remove (locally); depart.
- Metallasso: to exchange–change
- Metamellomai: to care afterwards; regret–repent (self)
- Metamorphoo: to transform (lit. or fig. “metamorphose”):–change, transfigure, transform.
- Metanoeo: to think differently; reconsider (feel compunction):–repent
One could say that repentance isn’t just reconsidering, feeling shame, feeling guilt, thinking differently, or reversal of previous thoughts, but I think it’s safe to go a step further and say repentance is a transformation; a removal of sin; a departing from wickedness.
Metanoia and metamorphosis are both equally important in a Christian’s life. In this parable, we see that Marion’s home–or the temple of God, which was within her and was defiled by sin–went through its own metamorphosis.
When the adulteress was brought before Christ he said: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
Sin no more, is what he told her. Notice though that he didn’t say, commit adultery no more, or fornicate no more, he said sin no more. He wanted her to be righteous in all aspects of life. Review John 5:1-14, where Christ tells the invalid to sin no more.
James 2:10 “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Christ wants us to abide in the WHOLE law, not just bits and pieces that suit our personal interests or the ones that are the most convenient to keep.
Repentance isn’t just acknowledging guilt, shame, or a trespass–of course acknowledging such things is a crucial element– but if one doesn’t change their way of life, what does it benefit them? True repentance comes when the person changes their way of thinking so that they can ‘sin no more’.
Luke 13:2-5 “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Unless we all repent–change, transform, sin no more–we will all “likewise perish”. It is true that Christ did not come to condemn the world, He came to save it, but His word shall judge us in the last days. And that word will either commend our works or condemn our works.
It’s said many times throughout the old testament that God sent His prophets, rising up early, to warn the people. Jeremiah 11:7 “For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.”
Christ was the Prophet spoken of by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18). And as a prophet, he too rose early and preached the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God 2,000 years a head of its time!
The building inspector in the parable came early to warn Marion that her house would be condemned if she didn’t put it in order and remove all manner of filth. She took the warning seriously, and though he didn’t return for a long time, she was vigilant and faithful to keep her house clean. When he finally returned, he found it an acceptable house, and Marion was deserving of praise.
Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15, and “You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14
Notice the stipulation in John 15:14, we are the friends of Christ so long as we do whatsoever he commands us. If we do contrary to His commandments we are thus enemies of God the Father and Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Do you adhere to the commandments of God? Are you friend or enemy of the Lord? Is your spiritual house in order? Have you taken heed to Christ’s warning? When He returns will he find you a faithful servant–one who has repented and transformed themselves into the image of God? Or have you taken advantage of the grace of God? Have you fallen asleep, unconcerned of the day of His return. Have you refused to sweep out the old leaven of malice and wickedness from the temple of God which is within you? Are you defiled?
Know that every Christian will be inspected–judged–by the ultimate building inspector–Christ. Will you be condemned? Or will you be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb?
Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”
Mark 13:35-36 “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.”
John 14:23 “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’