Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father…
I. PENITENCE IS NECESSARY FOR THE SINNER, in order to be reconciled to God.
1. According to the written Word of God (Luke 13:5; John 3:5). No excuse. No grace in case of negligence.
2. According to the example of all the saints. David. Magdalen. Peter.
3. Reason teaches its necessity.
(1) As satisfaction for the guilt, the injury against God (Matthew 5:26).
(2) As atonement (Zechariah 1:3; Ezekiel 18:21).
(3) As punishment. Man is the author of sin. The Divine Justice owes it to itself to resent every attack upon the moral order (Psalm 88:33).
(4) As spiritual remedy. To repair moral damage — the balsam to heal the wound, after the arrow has been taken out. Exciting zeal, conferring grace, setting aside the occasions of sin.
II. PENITENCE IS NECESSARY TO THE JUST.
1. No one is sure of justification.
2. Every one offends daily in little things, and for every sin satisfaction must be made.
3. After the remission of guilt and eternal punishment, there remains yet temporal punishment to expiate. Call to mind the rigour of the ancient Church, of her penitential canons, etc.
4. Every one is liable to fall, while he lives. "Fruits worthy of repentance" are like a hedge of thorns around the paradise of virtues.
Parallel VersesKJV: Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
WEB: Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and don't begin to say among yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father;' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!