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It's about the Fruit - December 6, 2010
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
Regularly the Bible uses fruit as a teaching tool. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches, if a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). There is also the parable of the gardener (Luke 13:6-9). He was ordered by the owner to take out a fig tree because it wasn’t producing any fruit. But the gardener told the owner, “Leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.” There is also John the Baptist’s message regarding every tree that does not produce good fruit—our Bible verse for today.
What is the point of this illustration? Simply put, it is about fruit, but not about figs or grapes. It is about the works, or fruits, that come from faith in Jesus Christ. This is a lesson to which I need to pay attention.
Because of the work Jesus did on my behalf—his life of perfect obedience, his sinless death, and his victorious resurrection from the grave—I am rescued from the unholy alliance that sought to keep me dead and fruitless. The Bible reveals the danger of their devious devices. It is clear Satan seeks my complete separation from God. It is equally clear the sinful way of the world provides a broad path that leads only to my eternal destruction. It is just as clear my own sinful nature drives me to dangerous desires for everything that has no spiritual value. Without Jesus and his precious work I would remain without any hope of life or good fruit. My fate would be exactly what John the Baptist warns: “Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
This is why the work of Jesus is so important. He gives me new life (Romans 6:4). He grafts me into his life-giving roots (John 15:4). He gives me the strength and the desire to serve him with a life that produces the fruit of good works (Hebrews 13:20-21). So, my life is about the fruit that is produced through faith in my Savior.
John the Baptist issues an urgent call. What happens in my life is important, because it will have a result on the Day of Judgment. I need to remember that Jesus has grafted me to him, and has given me a new life and a new will. I also need to remember that the natural result of Jesus’ work will be the good works that flow from my new life. So, in the end, it is about the fruit produced by faith.
O gracious Savior, you have brought me to faith, you have blessed me with a new life, and you have given me the ability to serve you with good works. Strengthen the bond that keeps me close to you. Increase my love and the fruits of faith that flow from that love. Amen!
Today's Devotion is brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com
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