Memorise: Bring forth therefore fruit meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8
Read: Matthew 3:1-10 (King James Version)
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Bible in one year: Acts 14-15, Jeremiah 37, Hymn: Sing Hymn 6
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:”
Fasting can be used to demonstrate genuine repentance before God. Exemplifying the above scripture, Prophet Daniel embarked on a fast to show repentance for his sins and the sins of the children of Israel in Daniel 9:3-20. All through the Old Testament, when individuals or a group of people fell into sin and judgement was imminent, they returned to God in fasting and mourning, expressing sorrow for sins committed. How truly sorrowful are you when you sin against God?
Is there any deep sorrow for sin anymore? Today, when you see a believer asking God for pardon over a wrong he or she has committed, you will be amazed. A few seconds after he or she has apologised, he or she is seen carrying on as if nothing ever went wrong. There is no manifestation of godly sorrow. People do not see offending God as anything anymore. They hide behind grace to cover up their evil lifestyle. However, can God be fooled?
The “repentance” of some people today is highly questionable. True repentance must be backed up by godly sorrow. 2nd Corinthians 7:10 says
“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”
Genuine repentance must exhibit the fruits of humility, confession, brokenness, a desire for restitution where necessary and a commitment to never return to the evil act. Take King Ahab as a case in point. He was a wicked king with a satanic wife, Jezebel. The wickedness perpetrated during his reign for exceeded that of other regimes (1st King 21:25). Yet, when God spoke to him about an impending judgment, he immediately readjusted, tore his royal robe, wore sackcloth, humbled himself and fasted (1st Kings 21:27).
When God saw the fruit of repentance in him, He deferred His judgement till the next generation. When you say to God “Father, I’m sorry, please for me”, is there any fruit of repentance to back it up? Some leaders get involved in terrible sins, and after whispering, “Father, I am sorry”, they continue as if nothing ever happened. Is that genuine repentance? People hardly weep or mourn over their shortcomings anymore. They hardly set themselves apart in fasting and prayer to reach out to God for mercy. No wonder they continue in their sins. If you are sorry, you will bring forth fruits consistent with repentance through your actions. Do you have such fruits?
Repentance goes beyond just saying, “I am sorry”. Your comportment and inner resolve go a long way to validate or discredit claim.