Change Brings Fruit
Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 40:11-17 | Numbers 26:52-28:15 | Luke 3:1-22 | Proverbs 11:16-17
Today’s Scripture Focus: Luke 3:1-22
“He [John] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3,8 TNIV)
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Repentance is all about change. To repent is to change one’s mind about sin, which leads to a change of direction and behavior. Ultimately it brings a fruitful life: a Christ-like life. If you don’t change: you will never grow and you will miss out on the abundant life that could be yours.
Some resisted change. John’s message was harsh to those he called “a brood of vipers”: “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” (8-9). To resist the change God intends for your life is to miss out on the fruit he intends to produce in and through you.
We should not presume that we have gone far enough with God. We should not presume that he doesn’t want to bring further growth in our lives. We all have so far to go in our pursuit of living like Jesus.
Don’t resist God. Don’t resist the changes he wants to bring into your life to make you more like Jesus. Don’t be afraid of the change that comes from repentance. It is the way to a fruitful, abundant life.
Thank you for the post, Pastor Jeff. It is a troubling passage of scripture. I think that many readers of this verse may have a question or two that you might have chosen not to address.
“every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” What did the Author mean by this verse? Does this statement mean only that we will “miss out on the fruit he intends to produce”? Does it mean only that ” you will never grow and you will miss out on the abundant life that could be yours.”? Does it mean only that we are cheating ourselves out of “a fruitful, abundant life.”? Perhaps you might be willing to expand and/or expound further.
Thanks for your comments.I wish I had the time to address your questions adequately. At the moment I do not. While I appreciate your concern, the purpose of this blog is to share a brief devotional thought or two from the given passage, to encourage the reader to continue on in the study of the Bible for themselves. It is true that I do not answer every question, or deal with every issue in a passage, nor do I seek out controversy for its own sake. If I were writing a longer article, a sermon or teaching in a classroom setting, I would try to devote more attention to such questions. As it is, I try to keep the posts short and focus on a thought or two. If you are looking for extended theological discussion, you will need to look elsewhere. However, I will say for now, that I do not believe that John the Baptist “only meant” that we will miss out on the fruitfulness or an abundant life–his words are filled with apocalyptic allusion and symbolism to judgment and the need to repent–filled with the idea that we are accountable to God for our words and actions, and perhaps most importantly, how we respond to Jesus. Many will fail to recognize him for who he is–Messiah and Lord–and fail to respond in faith (remember he is addressing the Pharisees in particular). One of the things you will need to sort out is who is he preaching to in this text, and how does that influence how you might apply it to yourself. So yes, his message is a bit unsettling–and was intended to be–and one could focus in that direction… but the issue that stuck out to me as I read it this time was the connection between change (repentance) and fruitfulness. I’m sure that probably raises as many questions as it answers, but I do want to clarify that I do not believe John’s words could be limited to the issue of fruitfulness.