THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
Repentance, to many is just a religious dogma which one believes in one’s mind and leaves it there. To others, it is just an abstract idea to which one gives mental assent without a corresponding effect on one’s thinking, behaviour and relationship with others. But the Scripture reveals that repentance is more than a mere concept or dogma. It is an experience a practical, provable experience, if genuine, is always accompanied by evidential proofs, otherwise known as fruits..
Parents who fail to delay to train their children in upright living will find a willing substitute among the agents of the devil. Satan capitalizes on parental neglect to train young minds in unrighteousness, rebellion, self-will, selfish indulgence and all manner of evil propensities that may permanently mar their lives. Parents must therefore begin early enough, seizing every opportunity to train the child to obey their instructions in line with biblical injunctions.
Inspired by the Spirit of God, John the Baptist told the people who came to him for water baptism, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Luke 3:8). Paul the apostle too declared and focus of his message to King Agrippa: “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But showed first unto them of Damascus… That they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:19-20).
What we learn form these passages is that it is not enough for someone to claim to have repented from sin and become born-again. There must be fruits. Not just one, but many fruits. The absence of these fruits is a sign that the so-called repentance is either a fake experience or has become a thing of the past..
A person may have an impressive testimony of salvation. But it is not the testimony that confirms the experience. It is the fruits. Whatever name you are called, whatever title you are given, whatever position or privileges you have in the church, what matters most in heaven and cause great joy there is your experience of repentance and the evidence that accompanies it (Luke 15:10).
RECOGNISING THE FRUITS OF REPENTANCE
So, what are the fruits of repentance? First, we are told that they are good fruits, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance…every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire”(Luke 3:8,9).
Almost everyone knows what a good fruit is. This is why people rarely go near a tree that produces poisonous fruit. They know that such fruits only cause damage to the body system. A tree that produces good fruits, on the other hand, always attracts people. The reason is obvious. Everybody wants to enjoy the nourishing, refreshing, protecting and (sometimes) healing effects of the fruits.
Let’s apply this to the Christian life. When the fruits you produce in your life are such that cause people to be defiled, dismayed, disturbed or discouraged, you cannot claim to have repented and made a new creature. It your behaviour towards your spouse, children, relatives, neighbours and colleague often makes them to question your Christianity, it means you are not producing good fruits a sure proof that genuine repentance has not taken place in your life.
Nobody avoids a tree that produces good fruit. So, if people are always unwilling to come near you perhaps because of your temper or manners then you must re-examine your life in the light of God’s word. Something vital is missing. “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”(Ephesians 5:9).
The good fruits that God expects of every truly redeemed believer include:
- Fruit of Change
- Fruit of Charity
- Fruit of Humility
- Fruit of Restitution