Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees, so every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire!
Here, John is explaining that repentance is deeper than a mere change in behavior or even a change of mind, tho it definitely includes these two. The type of repentance leading to Kingdom of God Life is a transformation of the whole person. It is a change of being. It is a change of what and who you live for. Your motivation is now love of God and love of others in every nuance of your life. This springs up from our deep core, our “roots.”
This morning I was given a different view on this verse than I’ve had before. To cut down the tree and throw it in the fire may not necessarily mean that the person is wiped out. But I wonder if it could be referring to the cutting away of all that is of self, that is godless fruit in one’s life. The person remains, but all the bad and toxic growth must be cut away to give a chance for new life to spring forth. I don’t want to ignore the eschatological element in this passage and reference to judgment, but could there be more? Something else?
The people John was talking to here were not all wiped out as far as I know. They were given this chance at a new root system from which to operate their lives. For those awakened by Christ, there is a restart, a rebirthing. And even for Christians, there are times of “pruning” to cut back the harmful growth that has come as a result of self-seeking.
In the context of this passage, the toxic growth was religiosity and corruption. The call was to be rooted in God and now thru the Christ. Everything in your life that has grown as a result of self-seeking and self-protection must be cut away. Yes, this is painful, but very worth it. We don’t focus on the cutting, but rather the beautiful result of the axe work.
By the fear of God one departs from evil.
If there’s something in your life you want to rid yourself of, you will not do so by trying. By focusing on the ridding. What will work, is getting closer to God. The pursuing of God is the slaying of idols.
A proper reverential awe for God, as His essence commands, will beautifully scare the hell out of you.
All those times my heart was broken by a girl, the only thing that soothed my broken little heart was finding someone new, not sitting alone focusing on trying to get over my broken heart. But what really healed me was when that “someone new” was God Himself. That was the only lasting and total healing.