He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin 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. 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.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:7-14).
Many of John’s hearers were shocked when he said that being Abraham’s descendants was not enough for God. Such a thought did not line up with their understanding because they had come to rely more on their family lines than on their faith for their standing with God. For them, religion was inherited. However, I hope that you know that a personal relationship with God is not handed down from parents to children. Everyone has to commit to it on his or her own.
John's message demanded at least three specific responses: (1) Share what you have with those who need it; (2) whatever your job is, do it well and with fairness; and (3) be content with what you’re earning. John had no time to address comforting messages to those who lived careless or selfish lives—he was calling the people to right living. Just as a fruit tree is expected to bear fruit, God’s people should produce a crop of good works. God has no use for people who call themselves Christians but do nothing about it.
Like many people in John’s day who were God’s people in name only, we are of no value if we are Christians in name only. If others can’t see our faith in the way we treat them, we may not be God’s people at all.
Because of Jesus,