Saturday, January 01, 2011

Raising Up Stones

Luke 3:8 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.

8 ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς· πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ. λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ.

This is part of John the Baptizer's admonition to the Jews.  He's explaining to them that they need to bear fruits in keeping with repentance.  In other words, the outward signs are really meaningless.  They need to be the result of true repentance in their hearts.  That would be a pretty tough thing for them to hear considering how much they prided themselves on their own righteousness.

Then he says something that would have really blown them away.  Simply being in Abraham's genetic line was not a guarantee of their salvation.  In fact, he tells them, that God could raise up τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ from stones.  Again, as men who prided themselves on having a genetic link to Abraham, this would have incensed them.

What can we learn from this?  First of all, it is clear that repentance is important.  It is true that John's baptism was one of repentance, which I've heard Matt Chandler describe as the promise rings you get at youth camp. However, that's just part of the equation here.

What amazes me is that I am one of the stones that God transformed into a child of Abraham.  Paul uses that language in Galatians 3 as well.  So not only am I unworthy because of my sin, but the fact that I am a Gentile makes it even more amazing.

I was at a New Year's party last night and some people were talking about what their one-word resolutions would be for the new year.  Mine would have to be "devotion."  I need to be more devoted to my Lord.  I also need to be more devoted to my bride as well.  All of this starts with my relationship with the Lord.  Today's reminder is a vital one for me.

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