Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fruit Inspectors.


In speaking with Christians who are Bible literate and the subject of how one knows if one is saved fruit inspection will come up. In the sermon on the mount Jesus said these words:

Matthew 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. ESV

From the first reading one can come away with the idea that one knows another’s faith by what they do. This is also how many will claim to know that he or she is a Christian as well. What this leads to is to always judge another person to see if he or she is in the faith. Now humans are quite adept at finding fault with another human. I have heard many people toss doubt at another person due to perhaps a loss of temper or a word will slip that should not be used. Or man made pietism will take the place of God’s law for a person to live up to in order to have knowledge of peace with God.

Another problem with this is that due to our flesh still being with us it is easy to either not recognize our own sin or excuse it away. Perhaps and unkind word was said to another. The person speaking it is called to account for it. “Well they made me mad and I was right in saying this to them!” That is impenitent sin. Impenitent sin is a sign of unbelief.

1 John 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ESV

In addition we should back up one verse in the Matthew 7 scripture to see in context to what Jesus was speaking.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. ESV

Jesus was finishing up teaching about Himself. In that he was comparing and contrasting himself with those who contradict him. This is not at all about how to examine another or even yourself to find out if you are in the faith. What shows that to us are the promises that God has adopted us in the waters of baptism and Jesus comes to us in the Holy Supper in the form of the bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sin. In these very tangible ways he delivers to us the fruits of his cross. In this way we do not have to subjectively examine our works to determine how God regards us.

We praise you Oh Christ. †

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

“What show(s) that to us are the promises that God has adopted us in the waters of baptism and Jesus comes to us in the Holy Supper in the form of the bread and wind for the forgiveness of our sin. In these very tangible ways he delivers to us the fruits of his cross.”

That JUST hit me the way you said that. I’ve heard that verse for YEARS used either directly or indirectly against me and I’d walk a way dejected and despairing more. I mean it JUST hit me, especially in the context of verse 15. It’s like you’ve heard or seen something said/taught a certain way all your life then suddenly the whole thing flip flops. Kind of like the reversal you note in baptism when you finally realize its GOD’s work and not your own, or the idea of worship is really from heaven giving to us on earth rather than us “offering up” to heaven to “move God” (earth to heaven) – it’s not obvious at first but when it hits it really hits.

It’s not an internal examination of the self or others, ala, “am I/he/she saved, and what are the fruits that show me this”. Rather, “Here comes the KING bearing gifts and you will know it is the KING by the very gifts (fruits) he is bearing”. Jesus is saying, “These are my gifts (fruits) that I bear TO YOU and the other rotten fruits they (the false prophets bear), well they will not be like mine – in this way you will know who speaks in My voice and who does not.” In a sense it’s Paul’s warning in Galatians about false prophets with another gospel that is no gospel at all. Or the “church stands and falls by justification by faith alone in Christ alone”. How do you know it is from Christ, its THIS Gospel, THIS pure gift in Word, water, bread and wine. If it’s something else then it’s a false prophet, false words.

Great stuff! Oh man, I gotta share this one with my wife and family (half of them will think I’ve yet again lost my ever loving mind).

NOT one in 10 million pastors would see or preach this!

Blessings,

Larry KY

steve martin said...

David,

That was another long ball whacked way out of the park.

Every word you uttered was absolutely true and right as rain! (I never knew what that meant, but it sounds good)

And this was not something you made up but is right there in scripture for all to see.

Larry,

There are pastors out there that preach this stuff. Unfortunately they are too far between.

Thanks very much David for being a deep, dark, underline of the Word, and unpacking it in a way that is readily understandable.

- Steve M.