Then he said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 9 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
One of the worst things a Christ follower can do is try to rely on the faith of their spiritual authority. As a seminary student, I did an internship with a church plant. I remember having a debate with a teenage student about his political opinions. It was election season… The young man had such a fire in his voice. He sounded so sure of his convictions. However, as I began to ask him questions about why he thought the way he did… He quickly ran out of answers. After several minutes of me frustrating him, he finally said, “This is just the way I’ve always thought… it’s the way my family thinks”… I had him…
Sadly, this is the way the majority of Christians are being brought up. They have an opinion… because it’s what they’ve heard their parents, pastors, or a random TV evangelist say… but they have no way of saying why. When a Christian operates out of anything other than personal conviction they’ve received from studying and applying God’s Word for themselves… they have nothing. No fruit. Fruit comes from being immersed in the Word of God. Without God’s word, your words are just poisonous venom.