John the Baptist preached about baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3 ) And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Repentance and baptism are two inseparable doctrines in the Bible. We cannot talk about repentance without discussing baptism. They are always connected. When people started to come to him, John said, (Luk 3:8) Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance. John refused to baptize them because he can sense that they did not understand what he meant about repentance.
And so they asked him, (Luk 3:10) What shall we do then? John told them that they need a change of heart, change of thinking, that is, the true meaning of repentance. He explained them how can they change their lives to show that they are repentant before God.
(Luke 3:11-14) He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it.” Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what are we to do?” “Don’t collect more than is legal,” he told them. Some soldiers also asked him, “What about us? What are we to do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay.”
John asked them to have fruits worthy of repentance, that is, they must show that they are really repentant and that they need to show that they produce a change in behavior, way of thinking and actions. What he has shown are examples of being self-centered that is most common in every human being.
Changes must come from the heart and mind. (Mar 7:20-23) And he said, That which comes out of the man, that makes the man unclean. Because from inside, from the heart of men, come evil thoughts and unclean pleasures. The taking of goods and of life, broken faith between husband and wife, the desire of wealth, wrongdoing, deceit, sins of the flesh, an evil eye, angry words, pride, foolish acts: All these evil things come from inside, and make the man unclean.
To repent means to truly trust and believe in God that He can forgive all our sins.
(Luke 18:9-14) And he made this story for some people who were certain that they were good, and had a low opinion of others; Two men went up to the Temple for prayer; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-farmer. The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer. Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have. The tax-farmer, on the other hand, keeping far away, and not lifting up even his eyes to heaven, made signs of grief and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I say to you, This man went back to his house with God’s approval, and not the other: for everyone who makes himself high will be made low and whoever makes himself low will be made high.
Repentance requires humbleness before God. Jesus told us in this story that there are people who are very righteous in themselves and there are really repentant sinners who are humbling themselves before God so that they receive God’s forgiveness.
If we are humble enough, truly repentant of our sins, and we trust in the Lord God that He will forgive all our iniquities, then indeed,we are showing the true fruits worthy of repentance before Him.