Monday, July 13, 2015

What Fruit?

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:16-17

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Fruit is the identifier of what kind of tree you are growing. I know enough about fruit trees to be able to identify them by their foliage, but I'm not expert enough to do it every time. However, if the tree bears fruit, then I can more confidently say what kind of tree it is.

Jesus and Paul essentially say the same thing about people. If fruit is a metaphor for good actions toward others, then those actions help identify whether the person is a true believer or not. They don't make the person a Christian, but show whether the person is one. As John Piper says, good deeds don't earn salvation, but they exhibit it.

How to bear more fruit? Take care of the tree. In Streams of Living Water  Richard Foster says to practice the Disciplines of the spiritual life so God can build deeply ingrained habits of fruit bearing into our lives.

There is considerable parallelism between the growth of a tree and the growth of a Christian. If you try, you may come up with your own analogies.

by Beanscot's husband

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