7 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? 8 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. 9 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, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors 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.”
Repentance is such a powerful thing. It shows you’re serious. It shows that you get the importance of aligning yourself to God. All too often people think forgiveness is associated only with confession, in fact all to often people think forgiveness is associated with admission – where we admit we did the wrong thing, like cheat on an exam or on our tax or watch porn or lie to our friends, but repentance is so much more than someone challenging us and we admitting to our wrong-doing or us going to someone and confessing we did the wrong thing.
Repentance goes to our actions – have we changed our actions through God’s grace and power? Have we aligned ourselves with Jesus rather than ourselves or others?
This passage gives concrete practical steps of repentance. Clearly if we are to repent then there are practical, concrete steps we need to take to align ourselves with Jesus.
Father, search our hearts and may we, where we fall short of your holy standards, choose you and live for you, repenting of our ways – turning to you!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta