Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Faith And Fruit In The Lives Of The Believer

I once discussed with a young man faith and fruit (or the lack of it) in a believer. Essentially he said to me, "I have faith, but not enough to act on it - not enough to produce fruit." And I wondered, how can one truly have faith and not be able to act on it in any fashion? Christ said that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed we would have enough faith to cause a mountain to fall into the seas. So, if that small amount of faith can move a mountain, how much faith does it take to simply live in a fashion that is different from the world?

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2, emphasis mine)

Here Christ tells us that any branch that does not produce fruit will be removed. James tells us that faith without works is a dead faith. He says that even the demons believe. So, what makes us any different from them if we have no fruit? Christ tells us that we are to abide in His love and follow His commandments (John 15:10).

Often I hear people speak of being Christ's friend. There's a popular song on Christian radio that says "I am a friend of God." We love hearing that. We love hearing that He loves us and wants to be our friend. This is in reference to John 15:14, but the entire verse never seems to be cited.

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14, emphasis mine)

So, in context we can see that we are His friends IF we do what He commands of us. We cannot claim to be friends of Christ, we cannot claim to love Christ if we are unwilling to follow Him and do as He has commanded. Christ said if we want to follow Him we must first deny ourselves and take up our cross (Matthew 16:24). So if we want to be with Christ, if we want to be called His friends and abide in His love - how can we continue on in our flesh and rebel against His commandments when that was His stipulation for being called His friend? If we want to be His friends we must follow - we must submit to Him as Lord over our lives to be able to claim we are "a friend of God."


Rick said...

cool thought - can i add something? the sentence can be read the other way - if you're obeying, is hows you're His friend. there's so much reliance on a works-based kind of faith, but where james and paul come together is that a real faith will have fruit, as you've said. it's not "bear fruit in order to have faith", but "you have faith and you'll discover yourself bearing fruit - and you'll obey because you're His friend".

it's the same way with, "if you love Me, you'll obey Me" - it's not a contractual thing or a guilt-bearing thing, or manipulation like me telling someone, "if you really liked me, you'd take me to dinner". rather, it's a promise: if you love Jesus, you'll find yourself graced and enabled and empowered to do the things of God.

how's that? thanks again!

Kristina said...

Ah, yes, I think I like that! Well put. Perhaps I should clarify I'm not trying to imply that we earn His love based off of anything we do. Rather our works are most definately in responce to His love and His calling us.

To put it another way: A husband will often do things like bring home flowers to show devotion and appreciation for their wife. They don't bring flowers (I should hope) to make the wife love them, but to show they love the wife.