Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 21 July 21:
Luke 3:8, 9 — “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance…. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
A saving faith is a fruitful faith. Genuine repentance is revealed outwardly by life transformation. As John Calvin said, “Repentance is an inward matter, which has its seat in the heart and soul, but afterwards yields its fruits in a change of life.” John the Baptist’s words in Luke 3:8, 9 are not hard to understand but are often hard for people to accept. Jesus said it this way, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15) Is this hard to understand?
Christians are fruitful. Jesus said you can judge a person by their fruit – “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7) Concerning being a lady, Margaret Thatcher said, “If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Similarly, genuine Christianity is self-evident, revealed in truly transformed lives, and transformation which is unnatural, only possible through supernatural power. The distinguishing mark of a Christian is genuine love for God and others lived out through selfless, sacrificial labors of love.
John the Baptist said bearing fruit is the natural result of true repentance and faith in Jesus. Consider the following Table Talk magazine article on the fruit of repentance:
Are you producing the fruit of repentance, the of the Spirit?
- Galatians 5:22-26 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
- Philippians 1:9-11 — And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
- Romans 7:4, 5 — Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.
- Luke 8:14, 15 — And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.
- Matthew 7:16-20 — You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
- Jeremiah 17:10 — “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
- Proverbs 14:14 — The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 July 21: Bear fruit in keeping with repentance today.