Luke 3:8, “Therefore produce fruit*~ that proves your repentance, and don’t begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones!”
John the Baptist was insistent that those who “changed their minds” about their own sinfulness and wanted forgiveness from God must understand that an inward change results in an outward change.
One of the main ways to “prove your repentance” is to demonstrate that God lives within you by the evidence of the “fruit of the Spirit”—-that is, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control” (Gal 5:22–-23).
In Galatians, Paul describes specifically how this works in practical ways. If “we are Christ’s,” then we “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (5:24); therefore, he tells “us not [to] become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (5:25). We should not compete with each other to see who is the most spiritual; rather, we should always demonstrate His love by how we care for others.
James wrote that faith without deeds is dead or empty (James 2:14–-26), whereas genuine repentance and faith always produce a progressive change that becomes increasingly evident. As we grow in our understanding of God’s action and attitudes toward us, we want to be like Him. The awareness that Christ had to shed His blood to forgive us now takes the thrill out of sinfulness. The believer does not have to try to change; it happens because our inner nature has changed.
The Jews tended to wrongly presume they automatically had God’s blessings—-no matter how they behaved—-because they were descendants of Abraham. Gentile believers might presume that God has forgiven them because they were baptized, go to church, or have Christian parents while continuing to live a carnal, self–centered, egotistical lifestyle. We must beware of a shallow or fake Christianity.
God is not impressed with a superficial, mechanical, or ritual religion that does not change a person’s heart; rather, God seeks people who have a heartfelt commitment to Christ and who genuinely want to be like Him (as demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit). Do you sense the conviction of the Spirit when you sin? Do you have an inward desire to change? Fruit is the result of the life source of the vine flowing into the branches. If we are bonded to the Vine of Christ, His word will bear fruit that will be inevitable in
“Lord, my heart’s desire is to show the fruit of Christ living in my life to all who know me. As people get closer to me, may Your presence be increasingly evident.”
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