“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.” (Luke 3:8, NIV84)
An inherent problem with God’s people is their persistence in seeing their inclusion in the kingdom of God as something deserved, earned or inherited — many based their eternal security on shear lineage to Abraham, others based their eternal security on the deeds of sacrifice and service evident in their lives. Any of that sound familiar to you? Aren’t there people within the Christian Church claiming membership by their deeds of sacrifice, service and giving? Aren’t there people in our churches claiming membership because of the generations of family members who were members before them?
To all of these people John the Baptist was saying that inclusion in the kingdom of God is connected to one’s personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. Abraham was the father of all who had the same faith as Abraham. We can have no confidence in bloodlines and works. We can only have confidence and assurance in the blood of Jesus Christ that purifies us from every sin. To all of us John says, “show fruits of repentance.” The Christian life is marked with a repetitious theme of contrition, repentance and forgiveness. All members of the kingdom of God have this in common.
May we, today and always, stake our membership in God’s kingdom at the foot of the cross and not on our works or our bloodline.