Tuesday, June 24, 2014
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16 KJV)
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. (Luke 6:43-44 KJV)
Membership in our Christian denomination requires a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. Since this cannot be accomplished by toddlers, we do not baptize babies. Baptism is an outward indication of an inward change that accompanies that expression of faith.
When that inward change occurs, more than baptism is expected. Just as figs from a fig tree or grapes from a grapevine are expected fruit, a Christian’s life should bear fruit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (Ephesians 5:9 KJV)
The other side of the ‘fruit story’ is told in adjoining verses, along with consequences:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:18b-21 KJV)
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:3-7 KJV)
It’s my own, personal, opinion that we should begin our inspections with our own fruit - any time in our Christian life - before inspecting others. Do my actions match those found in the fruit of the Spirit? Do I display fruit against such there is no law? What do others see in me? I think of that as I see others facing such questions and wonder how I might be of help.
I believe that’s what Jesus meant in His parable about beams and motes:
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 KJV)
Please note that once we do get that beam out of our own eye, we can see clearly to help our brother clear his, not before and not ignoring his.