ODJ: guilty as charged

October 19, 2013 

READ: Luke 3:7-14 

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God (v.8).

I recently read of the acquittal of a teenage girl who had been accused of blasphemy under her country’s strict blasphemy laws. If she had been convicted, she would have been imprisoned for life. It was found, however, that a religious teacher had promoted false evidence to frame her.

As I thought about her plight, I asked myself: “If I were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict me?”

Although the crowds in Luke 3 professed to believe, John knew they weren’t sincere (v.7). They hadn’t shown evidence of godly repentance. So he told them, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God” (v.8). The crowd, tax collectors and soldiers all asked the same question: “What should we do”? (vv.10,12,14).

As believers in Jesus, it’s important for us to know what to do and how to live. John said that we’re to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (v.8 NIV). Also, our lives should reflect the following things: generosity—“If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry” (v.11); honesty—“Collect no more taxes than the government requires” (v.13); contentedness—“Be content with your pay” (v.14).

To live differently, we have to deal decisively with the root cause of our sinfulness (v.9). Believers in Jesus aren’t to be driven by greed and selfishness, but they should be characterised by generosity, honesty and contentment.

Jesus said, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (Matthew 7:20). If we profess to be a Christian, our lives must bear the evidence. —K.T. Sim

Read Colossians 3:1-15 to find out how to honour God with your life. 
Why is it important and necessary for you to prove that you have repented of your sins and turned to God? What proof can you give?