Albert Martin shows from Scripture that everyone who professes faith in Christ has the duty to bring forth fruits of repentance which validate their claim, and that these fruits are the inevitable evidence of God's gracious working in the soul.

Notes

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

"'Perish' … 'Repentance.' Here the apostle says that one of two alternatives are before every single one of us: that we must either perish, or we must come to repentance. Whatever it means to perish, perish will be our lot unless we come to repentance. And whatever it means to come to repentance, it is the only way to avoid perishing. And so, this matter of repentance is of crucial importance. If we would not perish—be consigned to that place that the Bible describes as outer darkness, the place of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, all of that is compressed into the word 'perish'—then we must know what it is to come to repentance." — Albert Martin (4:20)

  • Definitions
    • Evangelical repentance — that repentance that is always found in a saving response to the evangel, always found in connection with a saving embrace of the Lord Jesus (5:30)

    • The Evangel — the good news that Christ has come into the world to save sinners, that He lived and died and was raised from the dead, and now lives to offer Himself to all who will have Him

    • Repentance unto life — "Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, does, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience." — Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 87 (7:20)

    • The dominion of sin — the willful, joyous pattern of serving sin (22:40)

  • Review
    • Part 1 — The Necessity of Repentance (6:00–6:40)
      • The only gospel authorized by Jesus Christ contains a clarion call to repentance (6:20)
      • The only gospel proclaimed by the apostles contained a clarion call to repentance (6:30)
    • Part 2 — The Nature of Repentance (6:40–8:18)
      • What is involved in this repentance which is commanded in conjunction with the gospel?
      • What is that repentance which the apostles preached?
    • Part 3 — The Substance of Repentance (8:18–9:00)
      • What is this repentance in its very heart and essence?
      • It involves: (8:26)
        • Genuine sorrow for sin
        • A resolute turning from sin
        • An unfeigned commitment to live out this new mindset in the totality of life

I. The Necessity of the Fruit of Repentance (9:30)

  • Acts 26:18-23 (9:35)
    • This gospel sets forth the wonderful possibility of being delivered from darkness and the power of the devil (11:40)
    • This gospel holds forth the remission of sins and an inheritance in the believing community (12:40)
    • This gospel proclaims that every sin and all sin can be remitted upon faith in the Lord Jesus (12:55)
    • This gospel proclaims that all whose sins are remitted come into the gracious inheritance that God has prepared for all of His believing people (13:08)
    • This gospel that was founded upon all that the Scriptures teach concerning the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (13:15)
    • This gospel calls men to repent, turn to God, and to do works worthy of repentance (14:10)

    Reconciling the necessity of fruit with justification by faith alone (15:30)
    Paul, the great champion of salvation apart from our works, here in Acts 26 says—without any confusion or self-contradiction—he was a preacher of the necessity of doing works! (16:28)

    • Salvation is by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    • Paul's epistle to the Galatians addresses the heresy of believing that one can be justified by works
    • However, the setting on which God accepts sinners is repentance and faith
    • Those who have truly repented and believed will bring forth fruits—works (Ephesians 2:10)
    • Works have nothing to do with the ground of our acceptance before God. This ground consists only of Christ Himself, Christ alone, Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead!
      • 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
      • Never tamper with what the Bible declares is the foundation—but never tamper with what the Bible says is the fruit of all who truly get settled on that foundation, either! (17:40)
  • Matthew 3:7-10 (18:40)
    • Paul uses identical language to that of John in this passage: "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance"
    • Just as the Bible teaches it is faith or the fire (Mark 16:16; John 3:36), it also teaches that it is fruit or the fire! (20:18)
    • Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire
  • Matthew 7:17-20 (20:50)
    • The Lord Jesus Christ Himself uses language parallel to that of John's
    • Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire
  • John 15:1-6 (21:50)
  • Romans 6:22 (22:00)
    • All who are united to Christ by faith—those who have indeed repented and turned to God through Christ—undergo an exchange of masters (22:15)
    • Being freed from the dominion of sin, they become the joyful, willing slaves of God
    • While sin may still plague the believer, it is no longer his master
    • As slaves of God, they bring forth fruit unto holiness and sanctification

Application

  • God warns that if your life is not a tree of God's planting, you are slated to the fire! (24:15)
  • "If your life does not bring forth fruit answering to repentance, and that condition is not transformed before you die or Jesus comes, it would be better for you if you had never been born." — Albert Martin (25:25)

II. The Nature of the Fruit of Repentance (25:40)

One basic, essential principle we must grasp to understand the nature of the fruit of repentance: repentance and its fruit are of the same fabric of God's gracious working (26:00)

  • The fruit of repentance is nothing more or less than an extension into the whole of life of the very essence of the beginnings of real repentance
  • The fruit of repentance is the flowering out of the principles inherent in repentance into one's life—hence the imagery of a tree with its fruit (26:50)
    • Just as an apple is simply an expression of the very life of the apple tree, so also the same regarding repentance and its fruit
    • Matthew 7:17-18; 12:33
    • This flowering out of the fruits of repentance impact ever-increasing circles of our own personal experience: our relationship to God, to our spouse, to friends, to our work (39:16)
    • It is simply the flowering out of the life of that tree of repentance into more and more fruit to the praise and to the glory of God
  • Repentance consists in a genuine grief and sorrow for sin (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Therefore: (28:03)
    • The fruit of repentance is an ongoing grief and sorrow for the ongoing commission of sin
    • In Matthew 5:4, Jesus declared that those who mourn (present tense) are blessed, not those who mourned (past tense) (28:40)
    • The initial grief for sin becomes the lifelong companion of the believer wherever he confronts sin—that is the fruit of repentance
    • Psalm 51:17 — the heart that is broken in the initial repentance becomes a lifetime companion until repentance is no more needed (29:15)
  • Repentance consists in an honest owning of and turning from sin. Therefore: (29:40)
    • The fruit of repentance is a continual owning of and turning from sin
    • 1 John 1:7-9 (29:55)
      • The setting in which the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin is said to be conditioned upon our owning and confessing sin (30:38)
      • As we walk in the light of God's truth, as it exposes the dark shadows of our hearts and brings our sins to light, we own and confess those sins—just as we did at the start
    • Psalm 51:1-4
    • Romans 7:19, 24 (31:30)
    • Though the believer is redeemed and in union with Christ, the remnants of his sin produce in him that ongoing fruit of repentance—owning and confessing sin (31:53)
  • The fruit of repentance will be a continuous effort to put sin to death—not to nurse, cherish, or feed it, but to kill it (32:07)
    • Romans 8:13-14
    • The true sons of God who have come into the kingdom in Spirit-wrought repentance and faith are those who are led by the Spirit—not with "divine twitches" and "The Lord told me this or that" but to put their sins to death, in the power of the Spirit (32:48)
  • Repentance consists of a turning from sin in faith that the Lord Jesus, who died and rose again, is the great Sin-bearer whose blood cleanses from sin. Therefore: (33:20)
    • The fruit of repentance is a continual fleeing to Jesus as our only refuge (33:54)
    • 1 Peter 2:4 — Peter describes a Christian as one who continually comes to Jesus—present tense "coming," not just past tense (34:05)
    • 1 John 2:1 (34:18)
    • Philippians 3:3 (34:24)
  • Repentance involves a full purpose of and endeavor after new obedience (34:35)
    • Repentance can be described as going out of the "God-business" (34:40)
      • No longer committed to running your life by your own standards, to your own ends, in your own way, and setting your own rules
      • Rather, turning to God to live by His rules, to His ends, by His means, to pursue His goals, by His standards
      • This is the very essence of repentance
    • The fruit of repentance is a pattern of purposeful, real obedience to God's will as revealed in the Bible (35:20)
      • This is not a perfect obedience, but it is a real and purposeful obedience
      • The best of our obedience still requires Christ's mediation otherwise we will be damned (35:40)
    • The fruit of repentance will involve a continuous hearing and following of Christ (36:00)
      • John 10:27
        • Who are Christ's sheep? Those who are hearing and following (present tense) (35:50, 36:40)
        • "I know them" — that is, "I regard them with distinguishing love; I cheerfully acknowledge My identification with them" (35:55)
        • "Hearing and following" — hungry to know the mind and will of Christ in the Scriptures so that you read your Bible with a view to obeying it (37:14)
        • If you claim to be following so perfectly that you have no sin, you are a liar and truth is not in you (1 John 1:8-10) (36:45)
        • If you are not hearing and following, you are also a liar if you claim to be His sheep (36:52)
      • If you are not following Him, you are not His sheep (37:20)
      • You hear and follow (38:00)
        • You hear: (38:02)
          • Whether His word bites and burns or comforts
          • His promises, when they comfort and console
          • His rebukes, even when they sting like alcohol on an open wound
        • You follow: (38:28)
          • When He leads at times by waters of quietness, in green pastures
          • Even when He leads into dark, foreboding valleys
          • You will never follow Him in heaven unless you follow Him first on earth

III. The Source of the Fruit of Repentance (39:50)

  • The Bible is clear that it is a duty for the one professing repentance to bring forth fruit (40:10)
    • John the Baptist did not say, "Pray that God would produce fruit" but rather, "bring forth the fruit—or burn" (Matthew 3:8-10) (40:07)
    • Jesus says, "Bring forth the fruit" (40:15)
    • Paul preached, "Bring forth the fruit" (40:18)
    • The fruit incorporates our conscious activity (40:24)
      • We must seek to hear the voice of the Shepherd and to follow
      • We must own our sin in ongoing repentance
      • We must go to Christ as our Advocate
      • We must bring forth the fruits
  • The Bible is also clear that the source of all the initial and ongoing fruit of repentance—and any other fruits of grace—is the grace of God (40:44; 42:50)
    • Philippians 1:6 (40:55)
      • Paul was confident of one thing: Almighty God began a work in them (41:35)
      • What God begins, God completes (42:35)
      • "Perfect it" — God will carry it on to perfection not at but until the day of Jesus Christ (42:43)
    • Philippians 2:13-14 (43:03)
      • Paul does not say "work to obtain salvation" but rather, "work out" the salvation that has already been given to you (43:24)
        • Work it out in all of its dimensions
        • This is just another way of saying "Bring forth fruits of repentance and of faith, unto holiness"
      • "Fear and trembling" — not the terror or dread of a guilty, paranoid criminal, but the realization that it is serious business to be a Christian in a fallen world (43:35; 44:20)
        • It is no light thing to be a luminary against the darkness of this world, to be in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (41:15)
        • Heaven and hell are too serious to play games (44:40)
      • "It is God who is at work in you" (Philippians 2:13) (45:38)
        • God's work in you is why you can give yourself to working it out with all of your faculties and power
        • You are not on a fool's errand; God Himself is working in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure
        • When you find your will choosing the will of Christ, behind your choosing is God's working (45:56)
        • When you choose to follow and you are given the strength to follow, behind your doing is His doing
        • Left to ourselves, we would be floating down the stream of humanity into Hell (46:52)
    • John 15:4-8 (47:20) Abide in Christ, fruit, without Me you can do nothing
      • Christ promises that abiding in Him, we shall bring forth much fruit (47:28)
      • True disciples will be marked out as belonging to Christ as fruit is continually born (47:57)
      • The ultimate source of the fruit is not in the believer, but in Christ the vine—it is His life, His grace in His disciples, by the Spirit, that enables them to bring forth that fruit

Application (49:15)

  • Can you say that your life is one in which there is fruit unto repentance?
    • Not perfect fruit
    • Not as much fruit as you would desire
    • Rather, can you look at these passages and affirm, in all honesty, that God has, by His grace, been working them into your life and Christian experience?
  • If you cannot, then remember 2 Peter 3:9—if you don't come to repentance and throughout the remaining days of your earthly life bring forth fruits for repentance, God's Word says you must perish!
  • But you need not perish, for Christ is a willing and an able Savior, who bids sinners to come to Him—Matthew 11:28-30
    • "Take My yoke upon you" — be prepared for Christ to direct your life (50:48)
    • "Learn of Me" — be prepared to put down your arrogance and pride, your thinking that you know how to run your own life and determine your own standards of right and wrong, and learn of Christ's ownership and rule over your life, and His standards
    • You must come to Christ with the posture, 'Lord Jesus, I come to have the burden of my sin removed; I come to bend my neck and shoulder to Your yoke; I come to be taught of You.' If you come to Him in that posture, He says, "He that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37)

Additional Notable Quotes

Reconciling the Necessity of Fruit and Justification by Faith Alone

"While works have nothing to do with the ground of our acceptance before God—it is Christ Himself, Christ alone, Christ crucified, buried, and risen from the dead, who constitutes the ground on which God accepts sinners—yet the setting on which He accepts sinners is that they repent and believe. And if they have truly repented and believed, they will bring forth fruits—works—answering to the professed repentance and consistent with that profession. Paul is not preaching that we take our works and put them back into the foundation on which we find acceptance with God—'other foundation,' he writes, 'can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 3:11). Don't tamper with the foundation. It is Christ alone, Christ crucified, Christ risen—but don't tamper with what the Bible says is the fruit of all who really get settled on that foundation! If you are truly settled upon Christ, you got settled on Christ when by the Spirit you were brought to repentance and faith in Christ, and if you have truly been brought to repentance, you will bring forth fruits consistent with that repentance. And Paul says he preached the necessity of fruits meet for—answering to, consistent with—the professed repentance." — Albert Martin (16:45)

The Absolute Necessity of the Fruit of Repentance

"As surely as the Bible teaches it is faith or the fire—'he that believes not shall be damned'—the Bible teaches it is fruit or the fire! Faith or the fire—'The wrath of God abides on him that believes not'; John says it's fruit or the fire—'Every tree that brings forth not good fruit, is hewn down and is cast into the fire'!" — Albert Martin (20:18)
"If your life is not a tree of God's planting—bringing forth fruit that has no explanation but that God has brought you to repentance and faith in Christ, and fruit answering to, consistent with, reflective of that repentance—God says you're slated to the fire, unless there is a radical transformation by His grace. Faith or the fire; fruit or the fire. … If your life does not bring forth fruit answering to repentance, and that condition is not transformed before you die or Jesus comes, it would be better for you if you had never been born." — Albert Martin (24:15)
"You follow Him. One thing matters to you: Jesus Christ is My shepherd and I am His sheep, and I am committed to hear and to follow. And in that confidence I know I will join the ranks of those described in heaven as those who follow the Lamb, wherever He goes. You will never follow Him in heaven unless you follow Him first on earth. And if you have any silly notion that you will, you are deceived, and the best thing I can do is rip the lie from your breast, that you might see your true state." — Albert Martin (38:42)

The Ongoing Nature of the Fruit of Repentance

"When we come into the kingdom, that initial grief for sin becomes our lifetime companion wherever we confront sin. That's the fruit of repentance. … That heart that is broken in the initial repentance becomes our lifetime companion until repentance is no more needed." — Albert Martin (28:50)
"Repentance unto life is a saving grace. Its source is the grace of God in the beginning and in its continuance until that time when we will leave all our repentance and faith behind us—when faith will turn to sight, and sin will be forever dealt with, leaving no more need for repentance. Worship and praise and following the Lamb wherever He goes—that will be our eternal, blessed, blissful task and privilege; but until we're there, repentance and its fruits will be our constant duty." — Albert Martin (48:38)

Christians are Slaves of God

"All who are united to Christ by faith—all who have indeed repented and turned to God through Christ—have a new master; they had an exchange of masters." — Albert Martin (22:15)
"Eternal life is a free gift, based upon the work of Christ, but in all who receive that gift in Christ, there is a change of masters—they become free from the dominion of sin, and they become the joyful, willing bond-servants of God. And as the bond-servants of God, they bring forth fruit unto holiness and sanctification, and the end of such a life is eternal life. And you don't have the free gift and eternal life and in between nothing but the gnarly, unwholesome, bad fruit of a life of sin; no, you have the fruit unto repentance." — Albert Martin (23:20)

True Repentance

"Repentance can be described as cheerfully going out of the 'God-business': no longer committed to run our lives by our own standards, to our own ends, in our own way, setting our own rules. No, we say, 'God, I wasn't made for that; I was made to live by Your rules, to Your ends, by Your means, to pursue Your goals, by Your standards. I am getting out of the God-business.' You turned unto God to serve the living and the true God. That's the very essence of repentance." — Albert Martin (34:45)
"The fruit of repentance is a pattern of purposeful, real obedience to God's will as revealed in the Bible. … Not a perfect obedience, but a real and purposeful obedience. The best of our obedience still needs the mediation of Christ—or we would be damned—but the obedience of a true penitent is purposeful and real." — Albert Martin (35:20)

Seriousness of the Christian Faith

"'I noticed, preacher, … you've made no effort to tell us jokes and make us laugh.' You're right. Heaven and hell are too serious to play games about them and to tickle your funny bone… Frankly, I don't care what you think about me, because if I never see your face again in this earth, in the day of judgment I will answer for whether or not I cleared my hands of your blood." — Albert Martin (44:38)