Depending on where you are in the U.S. and what denomination you belong to, the “fruits” may be taught differently. However, I don’t believe that any of us can be taught what to bring; it’s an individual thing. So is repentance. There are a few guidelines that might help all of us provide these fruits.
Confess: We are all sinners. It doesn’t matter whether we’ve professed our faith and try to obey God’s will. We’re still sinners. So, what does that mean for a Christian who is truly trying to stay in God’s will? Confession.
Confession can be done just between you and God, but there will be times when it will have to also be between you and someone you’ve hurt. We have to acknowledge the sin and ask to be forgiven. I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to write this than it is to actually do it.
Changed Heart: Once we’ve confessed, we need to make appropriate changes. Usually that means changing how we look at things. Without true change, we can’t be forgiven. It becomes more of a blanket “I’m sorry.”
Go and Sin no More: This is crucial. It is the outward sign that we have noticed our sin, confessed and changed our hearts. Jesus told this to the woman caught in adultery. He probably said it many more times than that.
Why do we need to do this?
God’s Will: Until the death and resurrection of Christ, man could not approach God. In fact, only specific members of the priesthood could even go into the Holy of Holies to put sacrificial blood on the alter and burn incense. He would have a rope tied to his ankle, in case God struck him down. When Christ died on the cross, that curtain was torn apart down the middle, indicating that we could all approach Him, no rope needed. We need to respond in kind.
How Christians are Viewed: Jesus commanded us to love one another and to serve one another. He taught us by sermon and action that this love and service wasn’t just for members of the faith. He cured the Samaritan woman’s daughter and the Roman Centurion’s servant. Most Rabbis would have had nothing to do with either.
Love is one of the fruits of repentance. It should be visible to all and accorded to all, no matter what their own faith or lack thereof dictates. We represent the Body of Christ and we should show it.
Our Own Attitude: We live in difficult times. That’s not news; we’ve lived in difficult times since Eve gave Adam a bite of fruit. Before Christ’s resurrection and ascension, it was a somber experience. Now, it’s not somber, it’s joyful. We have hope, faith and love. We need to show them to others.
There are probably as many fruits of repentance as there are people in the world. These are my thoughts; what are yours? When you find them, may they fill you with the happiness mine have for me.