Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fruit Consistent With Repentance

Matthew 3:8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.

The Pharisee's had come to the place that John the Baptist was baptizing, and they are confronted by him. He asks them who had warned them to flee the coming wrath, and he told them that they should not assume that just because they were physical descendents of Abraham that they were OK with God. He told them that they needed to produce fruit that was consistent with repentance.

This is not an unusual statement in the Bible; many times we are told that our life needs to be consistent with what we profess to believe. Jesus said in Matthew 7:15-16 that we are to beware of false prophets and that false prophets are recognizable by their fruit. The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). James tells us that genuine faith will be clearly seen by the works that accompany it (James2:14-18). He is not teaching us that we are saved by our works; he is showing us that genuine faith will produce fruit that is consistent with repentance.

John MacArthur says, "Repentance itself is not a work, but works are its inevitable fruit." True repentance, as J. R. Miller wrote, “amounts to nothing whatever if it produces only a few tears, a spasm of regret, a little fright. We must leave the sins we repent of and walk in the new, clean ways of holiness.”

Does this mean that as a follower of Christ we will never sin? Not at all! But it does mean that when we do sin we will confess that sin, turn from it, and move back into fellowship with God. 1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say 'we have no sin,' we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

As you go about your day today I challenge you to take some time to get alone with God and examine your life and make sure that you are producing fruit that is consistent with repentance.
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