Let's take a closer look at the word repentance:
For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
The prophet Isaiah shares the Words from the Lord speaking to Israel's sin. The Hebrew word is transliterated as shuwbah (שׁוּב (H7725).
withdrawal, or retirement. Conversion.
Many believe repentance is a painful thing, but Isaiah couples repentance with rest. When God shows you your sins, it's not just a sorrowful moment. Rather it's a moment of admitting how sinful of a person I am, and how much I need to rely on God. It's understanding the free gift of Jesus through God's mercy and grace. Coming to repentance is peaceful, and that's what we are all looking for in this life. Ask God to show you your heart and the ways in which you are not pleasing to Him, and repent. You will receive peace in repentance, as you rely on God continually after.
“Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’;
John the Baptist is speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees' who are Hebrews clinging to their birthright, rather than repentance and clinging to their God. The word for repentance is metanoia (μετανοέω (G3340).
a change of mind
This is good, however I'd like to take a look at the adjective that precedes repentance which is "keeping with" (axios, Probably from ἄγω (G71).
weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much
befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing
of one who has merited anything worthy
John the Baptist is correcting the Hebrews who already claim God as their savior, however they are not clinging to repentance. They do not count repentance as having much value "keeping with". They do not correspond with (keeping with) repentance. In other words, they are not lining their life up with repentance, and they are not counting it worthy for salvation.
Many American churches today do not count repentance as having much value. Could it be that the present day American churches are similar to the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus' day?
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Here I'd like to take a look at the type of repentance that John the Baptist is referring to. He is describing repentance in regards to baptism.
- of calamities and afflictions with which one is quite overwhelmed
- of Christian baptism; a rite of immersion in water as commanded by Christ, by which one after confessing his sins and professing his faith in Christ, having been born again by the Holy Spirit unto a new life, identifies publicly with the fellowship of Christ and the church.
“I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
This is a beautiful picture of the grace in which Jesus extends. Grace is extended to all (sinners), but not all receive the grace that is extended. Luke is counterposing the groups of people, the righteous and the sinners, the ones who forgo God's grace and the ones' who receive God's grace. The sinners who humble themselves and repents are the ones who are saved. Many people today are deceived in thinking that all should receive God's grace. Many times Christians disrupt God's workings by not allowing His wrath to fall on the righteous (the ones who think they are good enough or think they don't need God.) God's desire is for all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
Paul (...) found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.
My point is acknowledging the significance of the water in baptism. First it's a symbol of cleansing, ultimately it's a supernatural transformation by God. The water is the symbol needed by human minds that can't comprehend the spiritual realm quite yet. The baptism of repentance is near one's salvation, at an amatuer Christian state. As Paul describes this stage as being fed with milk. He describes the more mature believers being fed, with God's Word, with meat. During Holy Spirit baptism, there is no need for a physical symbol like water. The supernatural occurrence (after being desired by the one receiving the power) has no other physical symbol other than the laying on of hands.
Repentance should be taught as a basic fundamental Christian need that is an ongoing process, keeping with repentance as in Matthew 3:8.
As I sit here with my thorn in my flesh (seizures), trying to type. I pray, "Lord please speak to whoever is reading this. Give them understanding and remove the scales from their eyes that has been blinding them from your truth. I pray they would understand the significance of repentance and turn their life over to you. God we are nothing without you, and sometimes you make things very uncomfortable to allow us to see the important things in life. All of this world and everything in it will be destroyed one day. Push us to cling to heaven and release this world to dust and eventually destruction. Open our eyes to discern what is sin. Sin in your eyes is different than what the world defines to be sin. Help us to know the difference. Lord push us to do what we are called to do. Strip us of everything if you have to. Lord all we need is you. We are nothing without you. Our life is but a speck in time. We are here today and gone tomorrow, and tomorrow I want to be with you in heaven, not in hades with Satan." I pray all this in the Worthy, Mighty Name above all Names, Jesus Christ.
O God, I beg two favors from you;
let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.