I Believe John the Baptist

John the Baptist, a messenger sent from Our Heavenly Father, eating locusts and wild honey, wearing camel’s hair and a leather girdle around his waist, cried out in the wilderness, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” John preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and the people from Jerusalem, and all of Judea, came to the wilderness to John to be baptized in the river Jordan, and confess their sins.

Repentance is a principle of positive change. To make a positive change we first must recognize our own imperfections, our own potential for error, our own potential to sin, our own potential for positive change. Once we recognize our potential to error we must be introspective and search out the errors we have made, or do make, in our lives. We must recognize those errors, or confess our sins, even if only to ourselves, and seek to correct those errors, to make a positive change. There’s no other way.

A principle of positive change is how we develop in all aspects of our lives. If we want to improve our diet, we form in our minds what an ideal diet would be. At the end of the day we reflect on what we did or did not eat that is part of our ideal diet, and seek to keep closer to the ideal the next day. When the first mass produced automobiles rolled off the assembly lines, the manufacturers who continually sought to make improvements in designs, processes, materials, marketing, etc., succeeded in constantly improving their products and survived. Those who where satisfied and complacent with their place in the market did not improve, and faultered.

When the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious authorities of his day, came out to see John, he asked them, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And he warned, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”

No claim of divine spiritual inheritance will save us if we refuse to admit to ourselves our propensity to error. No positive change can take place within ourselves without recognizing the errors we have made and seek to do better. If we ourselves are not bringing forth good fruit, fruit meet for repentance, we will likewise be hewn down spiritually.

“Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

When John was asked if he was the Christ, the Messiah, he was forthcoming. “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light……There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose…..I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”

John made clear, though, who was the Light, when while referring to Jesus of Nazareth John declared, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”

John previewed the teachings of the Savior when he instructed the people who had come to him when asked what they should do to bring forth good fruits. “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”

Much as the Savior said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35.

John taught repentance, a spiritual principle of positive change. Jesus of Nazareth taught us the standard by which we should judge our need for repentance. We are in need of repentance when we demonstrate we do not love one another as He loved us, and as He still loves us.

One thought on “I Believe John the Baptist

  1. A good reflection, Chris. If I may share some thoughts on repentance, the word is used as a translation of the koine Greek word metanoia, which can also be translated as “change of mind”. In this sense, the proclamation “Repent and believe in the gospel” could very well mean “Change your mind and believe in the good news” and a “baptism of repentance” to mean “immersion in a changed mind” a continual state of openness to the will of the Father.
    One could go on about the mysteries of the kingdom, but I have much to do.

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