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Just this evening I delivered a short exhortation on our Prayer Worship, and it is all about repentance. Asking forgiveness is different from repentance. Asking forgiveness is simply saying sorry, while repentance is supposed to be turning away from sin or sinning no more.
Luke 3:7-10 is the story about John the Baptist preaching about repentance and its cost.
Prophet John the Baptist surprisingly greeted his audience with harsh words to make a point; “You brood of vipers!” It tells us so many things about how John looks at his audience. The phrase could mean several things. It could “you children of wickedness”, “children of deceit”, or “people that cannot be trusted”. Whatever that means, what we see here is that John was preaching in front of the people that are sinful and need repentance.
From verse 8-10 (and even on wards) we can see three things that should come with repentance.
3 Things that Should Come With Repentance
It comes with profession – When we repent, we profess that we repent. Our passage does not intend to say that we need to be proud and arrogant in telling people that we repent. It is simply about telling the world, that we are now dead to sin. John’s baptism is all about repentance (Mark 1:4, Acts 19:4). A public declaration that one is repenting and is cleansed. This is why baptism was already practiced by repenting Jews before Christianity came.
It comes with action – In verse 8, John said “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance”. Repentance is not just mumbling of words saying that you already repented. Repentance bears fruit. Repentance is an act of righteousness and therefore bear fruit of righteousness. This is important because one of the evidences of true repentance is bearing fruit. In verse 9, John further emphasized the importance of bearing fruit. Trees that does not bear fruit will be cut down and thrown into fire. Even Jesus, when he was walking and found a fig tree that does not have fruit, cursed the fig tree (Matt. 21:18-22)
It comes with perseverance – From verse 10 to 20, we can here that repentance needs perseverance. There will be a lot challenges in our spiritual lives. Temptations still exist and trials will linger. But these things exist not because we are Christians, but because we are still living in this imperfect world. As long as we live there are challenges, trials and temptations. But we were called to persevere, we are called to continue in the faith without wavering.
How do you look at repentance? It’s not a simple sorry. It comes with a price. But in the end, there is a prize.
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