Prove it. These two words are a challenge. We use them to challenge new ideas or claims people make. The flat earth movement is one that gained a lot of steam over the last year, and the natural reaction from a lot of people was “prove it” and so far, no one has been able to. Netflix recently made a documentary about the flat-earth movement, and during one section of the documentary a flat-earther set up an experiment to prove the earth is flat but the experiment ended up proving that the earth is a sphere. You can watch that clip below:
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” (Matthew 3:8)
If we have repented of our sins and turned to God then there should be evidence of this; something should prove it. John the Baptist knew this 2,000 ago and taught that it’s the way we live that should prove we have repented and turned to God. It’s still true for us today, so does the way you live prove that you have repented and turned to God?
“Instead, I preached to those in Damascus first, and to those in Jerusalem and in all the region of Judea, and to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance.” (Acts 26:20)
“When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don’t presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!’” (Matthew 3:7-9)
As these two verses point out, repentance requires action. When you confess your sin, repentance is the action that follows; the fruit we produce should be consistent with our repentance, or as John put it, prove by the way you live that you have repented. For example, if you’ve repented of sexual sin, it should show in how you live. You clean out your movie collection, you stop watching shows that contain the material from which you claim to have repented, you put a filter on your Internet devices, you ask your wife to regularly check Internet history, you make yourself accountable to others, and in these ways your life can demonstrate to others that you have repented of that sin.
The way we live should also prove that we have “turned to God.” When you turn to something you are also turning away from something, and the thing we turn away from is our sin, turning from the old way of living to please our sinful nature.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:21-24)
“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-15)
When we have turned to God, and face Him in His glorious light, then all of the darkness and all of our shadows are behind us. Our backs are to our sinful past when we face the Son. That old way of living is in the past and our lives should reflect that. To be clear, we are only able to prove by the way we live that we have repented and turned to God because of the work of Jesus Christ in us (Philippians 1:6). C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, illustrates this work as God rebuilding a house:
“But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
How you live your life is the testimony of God’s redemptive work. You say you have repented and turned to God? Prove it by the way you live.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.