He [John] therefore began saying to the multitudes who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham” (Luke 3:7-8).
As John’s ministry began touching more people, he obviously did not compromise his message. John may have even become suspicious of people’s motives when he noticed that it was becoming quite popular to be baptized. Even scribes and Pharisees were making the journey to the Jordan (see Matt. 3:7). He feared that many people were just going along with the crowd. So he did all he could to keep them from being self-deceived, knocking over any props that supported their deception. He didn’t want anyone to think that just the act of baptism saved them, or that just a profession of repentance would keep them from hell. He warned that true repentance brings forth the fruit of obedience.
Moreover, because many Jews considered themselves to be saved due to their physical lineage from Abraham, John exposed the fallacy of that hope.
John’s fourth praiseworthy quality is this: He loved people enough to tell them the truth. He would never assure an unrepentant, unholy person that he was on the way to heaven.