“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’”
Between World War I and World War II, France created a sophisticated line of defense between itself and Germany. The Maginot Line was 280 miles long. It was an unbroken network of concrete bunkers, gun emplacements, and artillery forts. Everything about it was state-of-the-art. There was a telephone and wireless communications system. There was an underground railroad to transport troops. It contained comfortable barracks, mess halls, hospitals and even recreation areas.
One and a half million cubic meters of concrete went into the making of the Maginot Line. That, and 150 thousand tons of steel. Five hundred thousand personnel occupied the line at all times. This miracle of technology became the pride of France—so much so that her citizens saw little need for further vigilance.
Then came World War II. And to her shock, France watched as a modernized, fast-moving German army invaded her borders by finding a way to go around the Maginot Line. The sense of security France had possessed was false.
In Luke chapter 3, the purpose for John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare hearts for the arrival of the Messiah, the Savior from sin. As he spoke, many of John’s listeners had a comfortable, Maginot Line sense of security. Many presumed that, because they were descendants of Abraham, the great Old Testament believer—they presumed they somehow had an automatic pass when it came to their own, personal sins. After all, why worry about your sin when your family connections already identify you as a good person?
You and I can fall into the same trap. Maybe I have fond memories of taking part in the church Christmas program as a child. Maybe I can tell funny stories about the pastor who taught me in catechism class. Maybe I can swap inside jokes about my church body with the best of them. But the moment I presume that somehow gives me a pass regarding the personal guilt of my sin—that’s the day my soul is lost.
No false security. Only Jesus. Only his perfect life on my behalf. Only his blood. Only in him will all be well.
No more false security, Lord Jesus. Give me a repentant heart. Move me to cling to you alone. Amen.