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What the Bible says about Producing Fruit
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 21:29

Both sons hear the same command: "Son, go work today in my vineyard." Parents should not raise their children in the destructiveness of idleness, and similarly, God commands His children to work (Lamentations 3:27), though we are all heirs. Generally, the first reaction of a sinner to God's truth is "I will not!" which shows the enmity between man and God (Romans 8:7). The disobedient son represents those who have no desire to make an effort to obey God. They neither fear God nor pretend to, seeing no immediate reward for their efforts. Although hypocrisy may exist in other areas of their lives, they are not hypocritical in their stance toward God—they flat out reject Him! Eventually, when called, they realize that true happiness is to work for God to produce eternally rewarding fruit.

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Two Sons

Luke 13:9

That the owner wants to destroy the tree but the keeper prays for its continued life for another year is not a case of the owner being full of wrath and the keeper defying him. The owner and the keeper have the same goal: to help the tree to produce fruit, if possible. Similarly, both the Father and the Son are angered by sin. Any thoughts Christ had toward Israel were also the thoughts of the Father (John 5:19; 10:30). Even though He is longsuffering, Jesus agrees with the owner of the vineyard in cutting down the tree if it refuses the offer of help (Hebrews 6:4-6; Proverbs 29:1). The Son never denies the right of the Father to destroy, and both agree in offering grace to the sinner at the best time.

Since the vineyard and the tree planted in it belong to the owner, he has a right to expect it to bear fruit—or to destroy anything barren or useless on his land. Some people falsely believe this delay means judgment will not come against them. However, the owner clearly says to cut the tree down if it ultimately does not produce fruit—a righteous decision since it would be given every opportunity to bear fruit. If a tree does not produce fruit, it wastes valuable resources and occupies needed space where a fruit-producing tree could stand (John 15:2-6). Within this parable stands a warning for anyone to whom God has revealed His truth: Do not delay producing good fruit (I Peter 4:17-19; II Peter 3:3-10)!

Martin G. Collins
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

Romans 6:21-22

The context answers what the fruit in each verse symbolizes. In verse 21, the product of actions of which we are now ashamed would have been death. But because of God's calling and our subsequent repentance, our status and relationship with Him have changed—and so has what we are producing with our lives. We are now His slaves rather than sin's, producing fruit to holiness rather than shame and death. In the end God will give us everlasting life. The choice is ours. Which fruit would we rather have, shame and death or holiness and life?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit

Colossians 2:7

"As you have been taught" refers to what Epaphras and Tychicus had taught the Colossians. Paul wanted them "abounding in it"—growing, producing fruit, and not deviating from it.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twenty)

Colossians 3:9-10

We will conform to our image of God. Whatever our image of God is, we will make an effort—expend energy—to become like it. We had better be sure that it is the right image! Conforming will take place just as surely as a child born into a human family will conform to the image of that family—particularly the parents—and pick up their characteristics, whether they want to or not. This is a true principle, which Paul is speaking about here, only in a spiritual vein.

Since the Christian is to be "renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him," he cannot be renewed in knowledge unless he is conforming to the right image. What Moses did when he was forty amounted to this: He knew about God, but he did not know God. He had head-knowledge of God, of the prophecy that God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16, of the fact that the four hundred years were almost up, and that, counting Levi, he was of the fourth generation of Israelites who had been in Egypt.

He had head-knowledge, but he did not really know God. Therefore, he jumped the gun. Although he was excited and zealous, he was way off-base in terms of God's plan. However, in the intervening forty years, he came to know God. As he did, his beliefs about God changed, and thus his convictions also changed. They became more in harmony with the true knowledge of God.

Strong belief must be present, but it also must be right or it is out of sync with God. Those strongly held beliefs will not produce the right fruit because the way of life will not correspond with the true image of God. In other words, if our knowledge of God is not correct, it will not produce the right fruit because it does not conform to the true image of God.

At forty years of age, Moses' image of God was wrong. In his excitement and in his zeal, he went out, but he did not produce the right fruit. He could not because his image of God was incorrect. Forty years later, after spending so many years in the wilderness, his image of God was more correct, much clearer. Did it produce the right fruit? Yes, it did. Israel was released from its slavery because Moses was in harmony with God's will. The image of God was right, and he was conforming to it.

If our image of God is wrong, then our way of life will not be consistent with God's. Just like Moses, we need time for this process of coming to know God to take place.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction, Moses and Us

Jude 1:12

Jude uses a nautical theme here. Thus, "hidden reefs" (a variant translation supported by the Greek) is preferable to "spots." The apostle says that these false teachers are like hidden reefs at our socials; they are just under the surface, waiting for the unsuspecting Christian to come along and be shipwrecked upon them.

Paul dealt directly with a similar problem in Corinth (I Corinthians 11:17-22). They held "feasts without the fear of God." They do not fear the oversight and punishment of God, that what He says will happen as a result of their self-satisfying sins, which may take many forms. Gorging themselves is only one part of it. Worse is that they use these occasions to shipwreck people, to undermine their faith, to whisper in their ear to get them thinking along the wrong lines.

Jude says that they serve only themselves. Again, this phrase is poorly translated due to being interpreted rather than given literally. It should be "shepherding only themselves." Ezekiel 34:1-5, 10 alludes to the same problem Jude faced.

Verse 12 also says that these false shepherds outwardly show promise of producing fruit, of bringing rain, but they never do. Paul indeed calls some of Satan's ministers "angels of light" (II Corinthians 11:13-15), but their fruit shows they possess nothing of godly, spiritual substance (Matthew 7:15-20). They will never produce godly fruit. They look good on the outside, but on the inside they are corrupt and full of bones (Matthew 23:27). When Jude describes them as "twice dead," he may be refering to the second death (Revelation 20:14; 21:8)—that they will die physically once, and then they will die spiritually the second time. It is at least saying they are well on the road to the Lake of Fire.

Hebrews 10:26-31 says plainly that once we have been forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Christ, there is no going back. If we continue to sin as a way of life, there is no second redemption, and all we face is the vengeance of God, who is a consuming fire. This is what Jude is trying to get across in relation to these false ministers.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 




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