John said to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce 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. Luke 3:7-8
The people coming to John the Baptist thought that the ritual of baptism could save them. John is bluntly direct and cuts to the root of their motives. The people also relied on their Jewish ancestry to claim salvation but John dismisses this also as worthless. He challenges them to repent and then start living differently. The fruit of a truly redeemed and changed life should be apparent. God doesn’t look for any human heritage or self-righteousness when he adopts children. He looks for those who recognise their sin and repent wholeheartedly.
It is so easy to start thinking that we’ve somehow earned salvation through good works, obedience, duty… The truth is, we were cold and dead as stone before God chose us and made us alive in Christ. What fruit of repentance do I produce in my life? Do I show that I truly understand the extent to which I have been forgiven? Does my love for others reflect God’s outrageous love for me?