I couldn’t help thinking about our Romans Study and my post from last Thursday (May it never be, absolutely not!) as the scripture was being read while my pastor was preaching on the fire of the Holy Spirit in Luke 3:15-18. I was reading and following along in Luke, then something took a hold of me, I love when the Lord teaches me at times like these and I instantly connected it to Paul, where he says in In Romans 5:12 and 6:1, 2, What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
What was it that caught my eyes and made me look back to Luke 3:3 and especially Luke 3:7-9?
So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:7-9
John the Baptist message was one of repentance. That is not exactly our message today is it, but it was for Paul as he said to the Thessalonians believers that they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” 1 Thessalonians 1:9 When you turn to God, you turn from your habitual life of sin and that is repentance. When you accept Christ as your Savior and Lord you are going to turn from the things of the world, not continue in sin so that grace may increase, not as “The Antinomians say they’re saved by grace but they live sinful lives, what we do doesn’t matter as long as we believe rightly.” Repentance is generally not the message of today, Though we sure preach and teach the grace of God, but if you have received God’s grace and have turned to Him as Lord, you are going to have to turn from your sins.
John the Baptist wanted to see believers bearing fruits in keeping with repentance, living lives worthy of the gospel which pleased God. Today we have become very superficial, believing repentance to be nothing more than a simple apology to God. But as the apostles and John the Baptist and Christ himself (Mark 1:15) all say, it involves a total change of mindset, life and direction as we turn from our idols (1 Thessalonians 1:9). We are to keep turning and keep repenting and keep bearing fruits in keeping with repentance. You see genuine repentance produces fruits. Just like those college kids in my post (May it never be, absolutely not!) are thinking maybe this “I prayed a prayer, my parents are Christian I’ll be ok.”
So just like the Jews that John was talking to were saying that their descent from Abraham was enough, these kids relationship to godly parents or Pastors does not make them godly and saved. Only By the fruits of repentance will it be known whether their’s or our’s (profession of faith) is sincere or not. Then we read this… so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. The Jews of John’s day were trying to escape God’s coming judgment by fleeing to him for baptism. They didn’t have genuine repentance… ONLY righteous behavior (a desire to) will show true repentance, not an habitual life of sin that is controlled by the world and not just by praying a prayer! This doesn’t mean our repentance is perfect, but that our deep desire is to please God and bear fruit and that fruit will remain. John 15:16