He walks with Good Fruits.
Reading: Matthew 3:1-12
“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” – Matthew 3:8
I thought I have heard this many times already from the pulpit. I thought I have said this enough to people who always say “sorry” but do not change. But in retrospect, I think the word “change” is what’s being more imposed on us, and what we impose on others. How difficult! The thought of myself changing into a totally different, new person seems insurmountable (and would that still be me?)! Controlling my anger and faking a smile doesn’t really change me, much less transform me inside!
But an instant change does happen. And a continuous transformation. And producing fruits. How lovely is that!
1. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
When I truly, truly repented, when I truly, truly was sorry for the things I’ve done which have grieved my Lord, then I have been granted instant righteousness, instant perfection, a new, clean slate which every time I dirty gets wiped clean again! That’s righteousness from God, not by my own making! That was settled when He paid the price for me, ransomed me, took the punishment for me—I have been declared NOT guilty! This is a gift for the taking—for everyone! But claim it, or you lose it! That’s the deal!
2. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
When I pray to God to speak to me while reading his Word, understanding occurs. I think that’s the start of the renewing of the mind—when we meditate on what God says. And when He gives us his Spirit, we are reminded of God’s word—at work, at play, in the home, at church, anywhere–guiding us on how we should speak, react and behave. But this is all in the head—actually doing it is another!
3. “I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I…. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – Matthew 3:11
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:22-24
How comforting! To be reassured that when I accepted Christ’s offer of salvation on the cross—I have also crucified my sinful passions and desires! That means from that point forward, I would continually be wanting more to love, to choose joy and peace, to be kind, good, faithful, gentle and have control over my temper and emotions. That is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit! And instead of always repressing myself with the “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”, I can now enjoy the freedom of loving, choosing joy and peace, being kind, good, faithful, gentle and having self-control.
If we have truly repented, we would be producing fruits. If we’re not producing fruits, we probably have not repented. “The axe 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.” – Matthew 3:10
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13