Journal Luke 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “He (John) said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.
Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Luke 3:7-9
Observation: This passage is certainly talking about somebody else. It cannot be referring to folks who claim coverage like children of Abraham…right?
Analysis: I find it increasingly sobering when I remember that these Bible documents were written for the Church.
While some use the Bible to justify talking to unbelievers, the Word of God was written and compiled so that I might grow in wisdom, righteousness, and maturity—I might be taught.
There is one thing that gets in the way of being taught: “Oh, I already know that, I don’t need to hear it again.”
John told the Israelites standing around and listening to John preach, “Repent!! Draw near to God.” What did these folks do? They stood back and watched. They thought to themselves, “Not me, I don’t need that. Those poor souls. If they were a child of Abraham like me, they would be secure in their faith.”
The Gospel bears repeating day after day. It isn’t a one and done thing to the face in the mirror. “I got it. I have the Gospel. Now I am equipped. Time for someone else to be converted.” And what happens? I forget.
It was said that Spurgeon was asked, “Why do you preach the Gospel every day?” He reportedly answered, “Because daily we forget it.” In Paul’s letters he brings up the Gospel to be taught in the churches, not for some evangelism campaign, but because the Gospel is the basis of all biblical maturity.
Therefore, the clear expectation is to “bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance.” It is clear throughout the Scriptures.
Attaining? That is different in that perfect righteousness can never be attained this side of heaven. Does it stop me? I realize that every morning I wake up I must put my trust in Jesus, according to the Gospel. I cannot trust what happened the day before. “His mercies are new every day.”
Prayer: Lord, even today I find it hard to bring the Gospel down to its basics and foundations with other folks. I get the sensation that it is felt that I am nitpicking. But like I read in Luke 1 and 2, those folks had a daily surrender and the ones who were called out were those who put their trust and faith in a past fact or act. My practice is to build one stone on another and candidly forgetting the previous stone and how important it is. Make it so in my life and thinking that don’t forget the foundations of the Faith and keep making the Gospel the most important thing in my life. AMEN