Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 3:10 Holman “Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the
trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
With every fiber of his being, John tried to awaken Israel from a false confidence. God was dividing the crowd, separating the good from the bad.
It was not too late to repent; the ax was “ready to strike”, but not wielded yet. However, trouble was imminent. God was taking aim to decide where to hit. With not a minute to spare, the hearers needed to repent pronto.
Israel was counting on glorious yesterdays, but being right with God entails not what we did in the past, but what we are doing right now, in the present. Proof of salvation is not found in yesterday. It has to manifest itself today. This is the theme of Hebrews. The issue is not sinless perfection, but rather the regular producing of good fruit–using the spiritual disciplines to love God more, ministering to others in Jesus’ name, reaching the lost.
God seeks confirmations of His directly working in our individual lives. He is patient, but as our text indicates, at some point God has to set down His fruit basket and pick up His ax. Unfruitfulness invites disaster.