Produce Fruit In Keeping With Repentance

Produce Fruit In Keeping With Repentance

Sister Miki Terayama - 25 September 2022

Weekend Devotion: Produce Fruit In Keeping With Repentance

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Hello brothers and sisters. Let us read an account during a time when John the Baptist was preaching to a large crowd in the wilderness. In Matthew 3:7-12 it says, “But when he (John) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ 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. “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Now, what bold statements to make to an audience who just came to join a congregation. But also, what a jolt to our spiritual heart, as well. John was preaching about the coming of the Messiah and sharing the word to turn people’s hearts back to God. And when these Pharisees and Sadducees came to hear him speak, it could be for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps curiosity for the crowd he has drawn, perhaps jealousy of the attention he was getting or just following the majority along to find out what was all these hoo-has with this guy, John. 

But here, John exclaimed over them that God’s wrath would be upon them even if they were descendants of Abraham. What does this tell us? It warns of impending judgment like an ax ready to chop down a tree that bears no good fruit, or a winnowing fork ready to gather and burn the chaff. John’s words of warning has in it the essence of calling people back to a heart of repentance, no matter how secure your family line may be, no matter who was spiritual before you, no matter what group or status of people you belong, no matter what you call yourselves. We all need a change of heart for God and it does not happen in a one time affair. Our lives involves a constant battle with sin, so we have to see repentance as a regular and very much needed part of our walk with God to keep our spiritual direction on track.

However, though repentance is a pivotal and crucial part of our faith living but many times, we could also get comfortable or secure when we think our faith is alright, our life is alright, our servings are alright, our church attendance are alright and so on. However, we must know that God’s call to us for a constantly repentant heart is because of His love for us.

In Romans 2:4, it says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” God intends to lead those He loves to repentance and He does so by first convicting us of our sins through the Holy Spirit, because this conviction shows that God is at work in you. (John 16:8-11). So brothers and sisters, if you can sense your sins, you have conviction of where your sins lie and you struggle with it, we should rejoice for this spiritual sense because God is working in you. 

However, here comes the part we may dread. When we enter into a truly repentant heart, it will definitely bring about remorse— remorse for our sins. This means that we acknowledge the detrimental impact and consequences of our wayward thoughts, feelings and behaviour. But from here, the remorse is meant to humble us and give us a reality check such that we will turn away from sin and change our direction to seek God and pursue the next steps in the Holy Spirit’s guiding instead. 

Unfortunately, our repentance can lead us in different directions at times. We either think we are repentant by merely feeling apologetic or on the other side, we become so apologetic that we crippled by guilt and shame. 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Now brothers and sisters, by our own will and sincerity, we can never apologise enough or feel bad enough to make ourselves right before our Holy God. It needs to be accompanied with a clear confession of our sinful self, willingness to bear the consequences of our choices, and find forgiveness and healing through God to respond in the way we live. Many times, we skip all the steps in between and just respond in the way people think is right, but that does not have any inner transformation. Whenever my son, Jude, does something that is wrong, his immediate reaction would be a very frustrated tone of “I’m sorry”. And I realised, when I merely ask him to apologise when he does something off the line, he does it quickly again the next time because he does not truly see his wrongs nor find the value of being forgiven. But when we explain to him the effects of what could happen if he does things this way, he realises the impact of what he does and his heart softens because he knows we do it protect him, not just blame him. Similarly, Jesus brings us into repentance like a parent is to a child. And only Jesus, the One who paid all our sin on the cross, can heal our brokenness. When we come to him in full surrender and trust, we will receive the forgiveness as Psalm 130:3-4 says, “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” 

Now back in the account of John the Baptist, people responded in repentance by first the confession of sins, then receiving John’s baptism. And presently, God also extends His mercy to sinners and allowing them to respond back to Him. Now if we do not repent daily, even for believers, we risk exposing our hearts too often in untruths and over time, making our hearts so hardened that we cannot hear God’s voice. Romans 2:5 says, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”
So when God convicts us of our sins, it is not to merely point fingers, but to inspire us out of our sinful ways and turning back to Him. 

For those who respond to the Lord’s call back to Him, repentance is truly a grace – or undeserved kindness – of God (Romans 2:4). And this ongoing repentance within us allows us to draw close to the purifying work of the Holy Spirit and experience increasing freedom from sin’s grip. May we all see the fruits of joy and freedom we bear as we grow in a repentant heart daily. God bless. 

Miki Terayama

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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