Jesus Christ Gospel Of Love: What, according to the preaching of John, are the cause, nature, and outcome of repentance? (Repentance is the turning away from sin)
The cause, from these verses, first of all is sin. Without sin, there is no need for repentance. Don’t get excited though, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, if you are a person, you must repent. Yes, that is you… The other cause for repentance is the wrath of God. (Vs. 7-9) Verse 9 says, “The ax is already at the root of the tree.” So all you have to do is nothing and you will be chopped down and thrown in to the fire.
The nature of repentance is to produce fruit. (vs. 8) If sinning is producing bad fruit and repentance is turning from sin, then repentance is producing good fruit. Don’t like to have the ax ready at your tree trunk? Repent and produce fruit… Verses 10-14 are a short list of types of sin (not all inclusive) that must be repented. To the man with two, he says give one. To the tax collector, he says don’t cheat. To the soldier he says don’t take bribes. In other words, be generous, honest, and content. So how do I know if I’m repenting? Are you generous? Are you honest? Are you content? (That last one is extremely counter-cultural, so be careful.)
The outcome of repentance is the forgiveness of sins. (V 3) In verse 15-17 two very important things are explained. First, God is the one who forgives, not John (not people.) He will separate the wheat from the chaff. The chaff will be thrown into the fire, but the wheat will be gathered into his barn.
What is the pattern here? Don’t miss this…
You did not see this: All the people showed up and sat in the pews. John the preacher said, “Jesus loves you and you are all going to Heaven!”
What he did say was “You brood of vipers!” (vs.7)…”the ax is at your feet…you will be thrown into the fire…”
The pattern is this: Sin, Repentance, and Restoration. First you must know that you are a sinner. You must have your sin pointed out to you, if you cannot see it. I dare you to pray, and mean it…”God please show me my sin.” Next is repentance, or the turning from your sin. Then and only then is there restoration….and God will take you into his barn, or Heaven. This pattern is consistent throughout the Bible. The woman at the well… Jesus pointed out her sin. The woman who was about to be stoned… He pointed out her sin,etc. Does this mean it takes a long time to gain God’s forgiveness? No, look at the thief on the cross. Jesus told him he would be with him in paradise that very day….but first he acknowledged his sin…