“Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10
We might like the Bible to only give us words of encouragement. But it gives us more. In addition to reassurance and comfort, the Bible gives us warnings. Like a coach giving supportive words to a struggling athlete, the Bible often lifts our spirits with words of reinforcement. But as a good coach also does, the Bible takes us to task for our lack of effort, commitment, and performance.
John the Baptist gave such a warning about the coming of the Messiah. John told the people that the Messiah’s coming signaled a time in which God would call people’s lives into question. Everyone would have to account for their deeds. He used the image of an ax set beside a tree. It was ready to chop the tree down if it did not produce fruit.
While we need encouraging words, we need warnings on occasion. The book of Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Ten Commandments are phrased as warnings – “You shall not…” Both the Old and New Testaments are full of instructions on things that must not be done if we do not want to incur the wrath of God.
John goes on, in verse 12 of Matthew 3 – “His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” It is another warning to fear the judgment of God.
The nature of God is love. Because God loves us he warns us and disciplines us. A healthy fear of God is a good thing. Let us consider our ways and strive to align our lives with God’s will.
With Warm Regards,