FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. ~ Hebrews 7:25
READING: Luke 3:8-14
John the Baptist told the crowds to bear fruits of repentance. They asked, “What shall we do?” He told rich people to give to the naked and the hungry. He told tax collectors not to extort. He told soldiers not to steal or accuse people falsely, and to be content with their wages.
People coming to new faith in Christ have two initial transactions. First, they receive from God a measure of the gift of grace enabling them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This produces faith and the ability to repent, turning their old existence into new life. The process of salvation then operates to produce fruit in two separate areas: faith and action. Sadly, many people are taught that belief in Jesus is only a “decision,” one that doesn’t require repentance.
The Greek present participle for the word “come” in Hebrews 7:25 emphasizes a “continually coming activity.” Yes, faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition God requires for salvation. But true faith doesn’t stay there. It produces a change of heart that must grow and be strengthened ( John 1:12). True saving faith is an activity that people do. It is not a static belief in the redeeming work of Jesus; rather a loving, self-abandoning commitment that constantly draws us near to him as Lord and Savior.
New believers must understand the depth of this experience. Confession of faith means asking, “What now shall we do?” then stepping beyond baptismal waters to produce fruits of repentance. Fruit bears seed. Seed bears trees. Trees bear fruit.
O Lord! Let me not forsake the responsibility of helping new believers understand the depth of the commitment they have made. Help me to impart true faith and not a counterfeit faith. Amen.