What is ‘fruit worthy of repentance?’ Interesting question. Where would it sit on the continuum between grace and works?
- Why does it have to be grace one end and works the other?
- Why is one seen as legalistic and the other a gift?
Okay… so what was it that John, the Baptizer meant?
He was addressing the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to ‘check him out’. John was announcing the first coming of the Messiah.
As these men were the rulers of all things religious – why were they told to bear fruits worthy of repentance? They did not think they needed to repent. (From the vast amount of research I have done for my fiction-based-on-fact series under the sub-title ‘The Apostle John series’ people who were born Jews did not think they needed to repent, and certainly not be baptized, that was for the proselytes.) They already were God’s chosen.
Or were they?
Their record was not all that impressive.
Yes, they had Abraham, Moses, David, and a few good kings – but not many. Into the bargain they could not even stay the one nation. After Solomon’s death, as prophesied by God, the kingdom split into Israel and Judah. (Judah basically is the remnant that survives today – and to confuse matters, is called Israel. The original part called Israel went into captivity) – but unlike Judah, the original Israel did not return to their ancestral lands – they were ‘sifted among the nations’.)
For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, like as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least kernel fall upon the earth.
Amos 9: 9 ASV
At the time John was calling the nation to repentance things were not ‘good’ in Jerusalem. As Jesus would later confront them – they honored their own traditions more than the word of God.
Could that have been what John was seeing, and castigating them for?
You assess the situation.
What are ‘fruits worthy of repentance?’
As mentioned last time – repentance is not just saying “sorry” and soon after going back to the same behavior.
Most of us have read Galatians 5: 22 & 23 where the ‘fruits of the spirit’ are listed, and many of us are well aware of how easy it is to ‘lose’ the fruit.
So, if we wanted to heed John the Baptizer’s warning, and line up with the words of Christ what do we need to do?
How long is it since we read the 10 commandments?
Oh, they are done away with!
By whom? Who has the authority to countermand God?
They were fulfilled by Jesus.
Most of us have heard that – perhaps even used that statement. But is it true?
Well, I am very familiar with the gospel of John – although my series is fiction, I stuck to fact where it is available. In John’s gospel you will find recorded…
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
John 14: 15 NASB
He changed them, though.
Oh, you mean where He said –
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
John 15: 12
Or when He answered the question about the greatest commandment…
And He said to him, “‘you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
Matthew 22: 37 NASV
Well, in my mind that summarizes ‘the 10’.
Loving the Lord my God… suggests to me – the first four commandments. When He goes on to say…
“The second is like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Matthew 22: 39
That suggests the second part – the last six commandments.
I guess this is a start to finding out what ‘fruits worthy of repentance’ might be.
What are your thoughts?
Till next time,