“The wicked desire what evil men have, but the root of the righteous produces fruit.” – Proverbs 12:12
When I asked someone recently about their salvation and where they stood with the Lord, I was told that they didn’t even know what that meant. So, I want to make sure my readers know, also, and are not left behind with lofty theological words. Salvation just means a condition of being saved. Being saved means that when you die you will go to heaven and live with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit forever instead of hell. It means that you’re rescued and made safe from an everlasting death, and you can live.
So if someone asks you if you are saved, the question really is: When you die, are you set to go to heaven or hell? What’s the condition of your soul? Most people know if they are living right before God or not. But there are some who think they are living right before God, but actually are not. Let’s not get caught up in that state.
Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). He went on to say, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'” (Matt. 7:22). And the Lord will respond that He doesn’t know them because they didn’t do exactly what He said (Matt. 7:23).
That’s hard to hear: that it’s possible to think that you are doing God’s will by being religious, but end up being rejected by Christ for not truly obeying Him. It’s why it is so important that we get back to the Bible and restore New Testament Christianity by doing what we see the Christians of the New Testament doing.
“All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.” – Romans 3:12
The other response that I received when I asked that question about salvation was, “I’m good; I pray twice a day. I haven’t murdered anybody. I don’t steal. I go to church services every Christmas and Easter. I’m going to heaven.” Friends, that is a misconception. The Scriptures do not teach that! Refer back to the verses above from Matthew chapter 7. Having morals (which means principles or standards by which you live) and being good is not enough to get anybody into heaven – not you or me. Besides, Christ said that there is nobody good, but One – and that is God (Luke 18:9).
“My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” – John 15:8
What God finds pleasure in is when His people produce fruit. Christ said that He is the vine and His disciples are the branches, and branches that don’t bring forth fruit will be cut off (John 15:2). For those that do produce fruit, He requires that we continually work to become more like Him and produce more fruit.
“Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” -John 15:2
So we have to add fruit to our lives. The fruit that we can develop in our lives to make sure that we are not cut off from God forever and doomed to hell is: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, kindness, and love. The Bible says that if we have these things we won’t be useless or unfruitful for Christ (2 Peter 1:8).
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8
In order to produce all that good fruit, we have to first have faith. Then we add knowledge by studying God’s Word. We develop self-control over our words, our thoughts, and our behaviors. And through those things we become more godly, which allows us to show kindness to others. And then, we can have genuine love.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23a
It’s not enough to pray once or twice a day or to not kill anybody; although, we should still not murder anyone and we should still pray. But what if we forget to pray that second prayer at night, or if someone gets fatally hurt in an accident caused by you?
We have to be covered in the blood of Jesus. We are instructed by God that we need to “produce fruit consistent with repentance” (Matt. 3:8). Repentance is a necessary part of our salvation. Jesus said that “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). It’s repentance that leads to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10). And it’s confession that results in salvation (Rom. 10:9-10). Then we see, explicitly, that baptism saves us (1 Pet. 3:21).
In conclusion, if we want to go to heaven when we die and, also, live an abundant life on earth, we have to produce fruit in our lives. It’s not enough to not murder, to not drink, to not lie, to not gossip, and so on. Christianity is not about what a person can’t do or doesn’t do. Life in Christ is about freedom – what you can do and choose to do for God and others.
A person is known by the fruit that they bear. Like a good tree produces good fruit and a bad one produces bad fruit, so it is with people (Matt. 7:17).
Are you bearing fruit? Fruit of repentance? Fruit of salvation? Fruit of kindness? Fruit of goodness? Fruit of love?
What kind of fruit do you bear?
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” – Proverbs 11:30
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