“But when he (John) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Bear fruit in keeping with repentance and do not presume 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.”
I baptize you with water for repentance but He who is coming after me is mightier than I (whose sandals I am not worthy to carry). He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire…” Matt 3:7-11
A distinction is being made here. There are authentic converts and not so authentic converts. Which one do I want to pursue being?
Earlier in this chapter John is quoted as saying “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”
I speculate that Israel at that time could have been just like what I think I see in America: “I am in good stead with God because I am (Hebrew/American).” “I am in good stead with God because I do (good works/believe)” and other associated phrases like these.
Pharisees and Sadducees are examples that John calls out: “…do not presume to (invoke Abraham as a reason) because God is able to raise up authentic children of Abraham.” (paraphrase)
Authenticity is a touchy subject. If I insist on authenticity it can be viewed as legalistic. If I don’t, it can be viewed as “loose or greasy grace.” But for the guy in the mirror, my authenticity is paramount: I must heed John’s exclamation-Bear fruit in keeping with repentance!
Paul wrote about this with Timothy: “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all may see (attest to) your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this…” 1 Tim 4:15-16a
Am I worthy of Jesus? If I am being brutally honest with myself-no; I can never be worthy. That is one of the foundational points of the Gospel-His absolute worthiness was given for my absolute unworthiness. Do I have to remind myself of this unalterable fact? More times than I care to admit for I can succumb to counting my own “worth” at the drop of a hat-just like the Pharisees and Sadducees above.
I want that baptism with “the Holy Spirit and fire” thing. He wants give it? Then I want to receive it. I want to be a practicing, authentic, type of follower…
My goodness, Lord. How clear is Your Word? Help me to bow my heart and head to Your Will authentically and with singular purpose. Knowing I can only draw near to You because of the Cross, I want to please You in every respect. Change my heart daily O God to worship You more. AMEN.