January 10

Text: Matthew 3:8, 9

Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. (NASB)

Once I took a test.  Five minutes before the two hour test was over, I realized I began my essay answer in the wrong place.  What a horrible, sickening feeling!  What I wrote was correct, but because I ignored a foundation truth, what I said “missed the point.”

The Pharisees and Sadducees who went to John in the Jordan wilderness “missed the point.”   The point they missed was critical!  They did not go to repent.  They went in the conviction they were okay.  They were okay because of who they were.  It was who they were (identity) not what they were (relationship with God) that made them okay.

They thought because they descended from Abraham, that one fact made them spiritually okay.  How they acted was irrelevant.  Their daily behavior was irrelevant.  How they treated other people was irrelevant.  Their personal emotions were truly irrelevant.  All that mattered was their ancestry—they had ties with the right people and came from the right origin.

Before you say, “That is a foolish, irresponsible way to think!” reflect.  Have you known a person who thought they were spiritually okay because “My father is a preacher!” or “My father was a church leader!” or “My mother taught a Bible class!” or “My parents always attended church!” or “My ancestors were members of this congregation for three generations!”  Would you agree that the real issue was, “But what about you?”

This is not an attempt to encourage us to evaluate the religious motives of others.  It is the challenge for us to examine our own motives.  It is an urging not to place our spiritual confidence in the wrong things.

Suggestion for reflection: Honestly examine your reasons for having spiritual confidence.  (Read Luke 7:40-43)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell