Fruitful Repentance-Luke 3:7-18

Luke 3:7-18 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 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. 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.” 10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. 11 John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” 12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” 13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely — be content with your pay.”
Luca 3:7-18 Giovanni dunque diceva alle folle che andavano per essere battezzate da lui: «Razza di vipere, chi vi ha insegnato a sfuggire l’ira futura? Fate dunque dei frutti degni del ravvedimento, e non cominciate a dire in voi stessi: “Noi abbiamo Abraamo per padre!” Perché vi dico che Dio può da queste pietre far sorgere dei figli ad Abraamo. Ormai la scure è posta alla radice degli alberi: ogni albero dunque che non fa buon frutto viene tagliato e gettato nel fuoco». 10 E la folla lo interrogava, dicendo: «Allora, che dobbiamo fare?» 11 Egli rispondeva loro: «Chi ha due tuniche ne faccia parte a chi non ne ha, e chi ha da mangiare faccia altrettanto».12 Vennero anche dei pubblicani per essere battezzati e gli dissero: «Maestro, che dobbiamo fare?» 13 Ed egli rispose loro: «Non riscuotete nulla di più di quello che vi è ordinato».
14 Lo interrogarono pure dei soldati, dicendo: «E noi, che dobbiamo fare?» Ed egli a loro: «Non fate estorsioni, non opprimete nessuno con false denunce e accontentatevi della vostra paga».
 
     As John begins to preach (according to verse 1) in 29 A.D., it is quite clear that his message was that one’s life is the determining factor in repentance. Many people believed that following rituals was the indication of repentance. Verse 8 forever dispels this notion by saying that repentance is a life change. “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Verse 9 amplifies this point by talking about trees that do “not produce good fruit” followed by a message of judgment to those who don’t practice repentance.
     Any basic inspection of the religions of the world has a common theme: a system of works that will be a guarantee for approval. Christianity alone stands out squarely against this tradition preaching that any form of works, no matter how rigorous the merits, will not produce repentance. To further emphasize the point, John gives three examples speaking to the religious, the secular and the rulers by summarizing the type of good fruit that is true repentance: to the religious, don’t be selfish; to the secular, don’t be dishonest; and to the rulers, don’t misuse people for your gain (v. 10-14). 
     One doesn’t have to look too far to see how lost our world is. Religious people, who claim repentance, can still be selfish while espousing the blessing of God. Secular world systems are filled with cleverly distorted business practices. Governments with their power can distort the truth. But for us as followers of Christ, the question is: Is there evidential fruit in keeping with our regular times of repentance?  
Pray with me: Lord, as I regularly examine my life, help me to understand that repentance is only valid when it produces fruit in my life.


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