Let Your Branches Be Filled

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance,” (Matthew 3:8).

grapesSo I recently bought a new journal, a devotional journal by Dayspring. It gives you a reading of the day and a space for you to write the date that you read and responded. You get two blank pages for each reading, and by the end of the journal, you’ve read the New Testament. Pretty nifty, plus, it’s great fodder for a blog. Hence this post.

So in Matthew 3:9, 4:3, and 4:6, there is mention of stones. As with all Scripture, it must be important, or it wouldn’t be in there. In the first instance, John the Baptist admonishes the Pharisees and Sadducees to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance,” and not to “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.”

What does that mean for us? If it’s in there, it means something, right? So maybe instead of cheering John on, we should bring ourselves up short, heed those words, and adapt them. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance – stop resting on our laurels – and not presume to say to ourselves, “we have God as our Father,” for God – who formed us from the dust of the Earth and breathed into our nostrils the breath of Life – is able to raise from these stones children for Himself. I mean, if we will not praise Him, did not Jesus say the very stones would cry out?

Jesus Christ, the stone the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone. Proud men stumble over Him, but He says He came to take our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh. And what does a heart of flesh do? It pulsates. … It beats. … It pumps blood. In other words, it works. And so should we – to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a works-based salvation; it’s the way salvation works. Our salvation – God’s work in our hearts through the shed blood of Jesus Christ – is life, and living people do things. We work. But instead of working for ourselves, we work for God. And we ought to work hard – working out our own salvation, as Paul says – in order to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

So come. Let your branches be filled. Let us show our salvation by the work that we do. For truly, faith … without works … is dead.

Also published at our sister blog, BeSpent.com.