“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Repent. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of the kingdom that has come.” See entry for Repentance.
“The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
(a) The axe is already laid at the root. The law-keeping covenant that Israel had with the Lord is coming to an end.
(b) The root. The self-righteous root of unbelief cannot sustain you. We are meant to be rooted in Christ (Rom. 11:18).
(c) Every tree that does not bear good fruit. The tree is the unbelieving nation of Israel.
This warning is not directed to Christians, but self-righteous religious people such as the Pharisees and Sadducees of verse 7. See also Matt. 23:33.
Further reading: “The axe at the root”
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Beloved. The original word (agapetos) means dearly loved, esteemed, favorite and worthy of love. It is closely related to a verb (agapao) that means to be well pleased or fond of or contented. God the Father not only loves God the Son, but he is deeply fond of him and well-pleased with him (Matt. 12:18, 17:5, Mark 1:11, 9:7, 12:6, Luke 3:22, 9:35, 20:13, 2 Pet. 1:17).
This word also describes the believer who is in Christ. You are God’s beloved child. Your heavenly Father is fond of you. You are his esteemed favorite and he is well pleased with you.
All the epistle writers referred to believers as the beloved or dearly-loved children of God (see entry for Rom. 1:7).
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