Daily Word

Fruit of repentance | Matthew 3:7-10

7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 3:7-10 (ESV)

Pharisees and Sadducees

Yesterday we learned about John the Baptist and his role of preparing the way for the Messiah. This was done through a call to confess and repent of sin. The call was for all. But John had a special message for the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Who are these guys? They were the religious leaders of the Jews. “The Pharisees and the Sadducees were both religious sects within Judaism during the time of Christ. Both groups honored Moses and the Law, and they both had a measure of political power. The Sanhedrin, the 70-member supreme court of ancient Israel, had members from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees.” (gotquestions.org)

They presumed that since they are children of Abrahan, the man of faith, the one through whom the covenant of promise (Genesis 12:1-3) was made, that they had an inside track to access to God. They thought that by Abraham’s faith, they too are declared righteous (Genesis 15:1-6). John says it means nothing. God can make sons of Abraham from stones if he needs to. What they need is the fruit of repentance.

Fruit of repentance

John was preaching a baptism of repentance. Pharisees and Sadducees were “lining up”. John called them out. He was skeptical, even convinced, that their heart was not in it. Most of their actions are for show – as we’ll see Jesus call out later in Matthew 6:5 and 23:13.

True repentance must bear fruit.  This is similar to James’ statement that true faith must be demonstrated by works (James 2:18). Repentance is to turn away from something. In this case, turn away from sin. And to turn TO God; to submit to Him and His control of our lives. A changed life of Spirit control can be seen.

Consequence of non-repentance

What’s the consequence of non-repentance or fruitless repentance? The fruit tree will be cut down and thrown into fire. We’ll learn later that this fire is eternal. The consequences are real and grave. All must heed the call to repent.


  • Have you truly repented? Are you demonstrating the fruit of repentance? As an apple tree produces apple fruit, so those who repent must demonstrate the fruit of a changed life and heart.
  • If you need a place to start, look at the idols of your heart. Check out this video for more about idols of the heart.
  • If you have never come to Christ in repentance, click here.
Orange tree with fruit. Image from Pxfuel.com

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