This Day With God

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The Fruits of Repentance, July 7

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Matthew 23:25. TDG 197.1

When John was preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and the Pharisees and Sadducees came to his baptism, that fearless preacher of righteousness addressed them: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:7, 8). In coming to John, these men were not actuated by right motives. They were corrupt in principles and practice; yet they had no sense of their true condition. Filled with pride and ambition, they would not hesitate at any means which would enable them to exalt self and strengthen their influence with the people. And baptism at the hands of this popular young teacher might, they thought, aid them in carrying out these designs more successfully. TDG 197.2

Their motives were not hidden from John, and he met them with the searching inquiry, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Had they heard the voice of God speaking to their hearts, they would have given evidence of the fact by bringing forth fruits meet for repentance. No such fruit was seen. They had heard the warning as merely the voice of man. They were charmed with the power and boldness with which John spoke; but the Spirit of God did not send conviction to their hearts, and as a sure result the word spoken did not bring forth fruit unto life eternal. TDG 197.3

None are farther from the kingdom of heaven than self-righteous formalists, who are perhaps filled with pride at their own attainments, while they are wholly destitute of the Spirit of Christ, and are controlled by envy, jealousy, and love of praise and popularity. They belong to the class that John addressed as a generation of vipers, children of the wicked one. They serve the cause of Satan more effectively than the vilest profligate; for the latter does not disguise his true character; he appears what he really is. TDG 197.4

Nothing short of an amended life—fruits meet for repentance—will meet the requirements of God. Without such fruit, our profession of faith is of no value.—The Signs of the Times, July 7, 1887. TDG 197.5