In general, when I think of repentance I don’t think of love. I am usually thinking, “Okay, I’m in trouble again. What do I need to do to get out of trouble this time?” Example: Let’s look at Matthew 3:7-8. John the Baptist tells the Pharisees and Sadducees who are coming to see him baptize many, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” My predisposition when contemplating repentance is to focus on wrath rather than fruit. Earlier verses in Matthew describe how people went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John, confessing their sins. My natural inclination is for my mind to dwell on what I have done wrong and how I can make correction in my own strength rather than believing God has created a path to love through repentance.
Jesus talks about fruit in Matthew 7:17-20: So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut own and thrown into the fire. Thus, you will recognize them by their fruits. Galatians 5:22 tells us one of the fruits of the spirit is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13: So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
So how is repentance really a gift of love from God to the body of Christ? Love is the will to do good. God is love, and He desires to do good for us and through us. So, when we confess and repent, and turn to the Lord, bearing good fruit, we are walking in love toward others. Our prayer today is we would have a heart to love, touching others, and bearing fruit that is good, not in our strength, but rather in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
by Bill & Elaine Lang
Bill and Elaine have served the Lord together since 1983 and have been members of Kingsway Church since 2007. They have served in worship, life group, and mission team leadership. They have two married sons and an adult daughter, along with five grandchildren, and will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2020.