John called the people to repent. Repentance not only means admitting and being sorry for our sins, but asking God to forgive us and help us turn back to Him.
Three Questions True Repentance Asks:
What am I sorry for?
What do I need God to do?
What difference does this make in my life?
We don't get a pass because we come from a long line of Christians. We are not saved by going to church. We go to church to hear God's Word, to be assured of His forgiveness, and to work together to live out our faith and connect others to Jesus.
Judgment came to Israel about 40 years later (70 A.D.) when the Romans put down a Jewish rebellion, conquered Jerusalem, and destroyed the Temple. What should we do if we do not want our nation to be judged by God for turning away from Him. God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land." Just being sorry isn't good enough."