Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My view of things

In response to this article.

I read through this article, and enjoyed it. I appreciated their attention to detail and to the meaning of the miracle here, especially as it applied to unbelieving Israel.

Yet, for as much as they got right, I was also disappointed because it missed the point that is central to the gospel message and central to our ability to bear good fruit: REPENTANCE

This parable is clear about His justice on those who profess but do not produce fruit. But we should be careful that we aren't defining spiritual fruit differently than how the Bible defines it, and that we aren't deceived.

Luke 3 says the following:
3He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
5Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
6And all mankind will see God's salvation.' "[a]
7John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8Produce 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.
9The 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."
10"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.
11John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"
13"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told
14Then 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."
15The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.[b]
16John answered them all, "I baptize you with[c] water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." 18And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
19But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and all the other evil things he had done, 20Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.

It is not so much that we should believe in Jesus. Even the demons beileve... and shudder (James 2:19). And how can we receive forgiveness of sins if we don't care to walk away from that which soils us in its filth. God is a Holy God; we are to be a holy people (Leviticus 11:45; 19:2; 1 Peter 1:14-19).

If we are to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we must be filled with the Spirit. And to be filled with the Spirit, we must repent.

Acts 2:37-38 37When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

We cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit when we are walking in the flesh (Ez. 36:26; John 3:6; Galatians 5:16-17). And we cannot walk away from our flesh unless we kill it (Luke 9:33).

We cannot receive forgiveness without repentance; we cannot receive the Spirit without repentance (Isaiah 66:2). Tremble at His Word, don't look for loopholes around it. Then repent and believe.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. This is how one can avoid being that barren tree, which is eventually cursed and thrown into the lake of judgment, whose fire is never extinguished.


For all those pastors who patiently lurk in the shadows, I'd love to hear your thoughts, and your opinion of the article linked above, too.

My immediate opinion is that we ought to be careful that we aren't being deceived. The gospel is simple, yet repentance is so contrary to the flesh and its desires. It is fading quickly from all things "evangelical" it seems... not that we should be surprised.

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