By admonishing the crowds that had come to him to be baptized, and by asking them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, John the Baptist teaches what true repentance consists of: A life that is convicted of sin and that turns to Christ, and roots itself in him. Repentance, therefore, starts within one’s heart and, outwardly expresses itself through a life that is renewed in the light of the gospel. Many who were coming to John the Baptist to be baptized by him were skipping the first thing: Their hearts had not truly been convicted of sins. And because the hearts were not convicted, their lives were not engaged in the life-style that results from a repentant heart.
The saving gospel invites us to a sincere repentance: One that starts in the heart and leads to a new life in Christ. In the gospel, the tax collector Zacchaeus is an example of new life in Christ. Without being asked or pressured to do so, after receiving the Lord Jesus Christ in his home and, no doubt, in his heart, he vowed to give half of his possessions to the poor and restitute four times the amount he had dishonestly collected from taxpayers.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, help me to repent daily from my sins; and lead my life to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Stéphane Kalonji, Pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church in New Bern, NC.