True repentance comes at a cost – are you relying on repentance?
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Meet John, a man of the desert. A preacher of salvation through forgiveness of sins. In these verses, we hear what John has to say to the Jewish people at the time of Jesus. I can’t say that being called a “brood of vipers” would be particularly encouraging to hear. But he makes a valid point – that these people are not living as God’s. Because of their rebellion, they face impending wrath; thankfully, this is not the end of John’s message.
John is urging the people to repent, proclaiming Jesus’ arrival and mission. What is this repentance? It involves a turning away from the way they are living to a new life of living under a saviour who would offer forgiveness freely. The Jewish people were relying on their forefathers for their own salvation; they believed that they were granted salvation because of their family line. John absolutely smashes this false way of living, stating that relying on your family line for your salvation will lead to destruction and despair (v9).
What is it that you are relying on for your salvation and strength today? Is it Christ alone, or is it your own entitlements/efforts? In your life, are you producing “good fruit” from your repentance? There is fruit that comes from genuine repentance. Let us rely on the salvation that we have through Christ alone, and humbly repent of our ways that God would use us to be his witnesses to those around us of his undeserved grace and forgiveness.
Head: What is it that you can easily rely on for your salvation instead of God?
Heart: How can you be captivated by Jesus today, so that you would rely on him?
Hands: Intentionally spend time thinking about the way you can be a witness of God’s grace to someone in your life today and then go and do it.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I’m sorry for the things in life that I rely on that isn’t you. I’m sorry for my selfishness and entitlement in my life. Help me to remember that salvation only comes through you and that it is for you. Help me to repent of my ways, to live a life that reflects your grace and forgiveness to others. Help me to rely on you always.
In Jesus name and by your Holy Spirit,
A song to listen to: Bring Us Back