Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fruits of Our Salvation

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8)

What do I know about bearing fruits? Absolutely nothing! I have never been a farmer or even a gardener. All my dying plants in the backyard prove that I am a better preacher than a gardener. The only fruits that I ‘pluck’ are those out of fruit stalls and supermarket shelves. Even that can be a tedious task because I do bring back fruits, to the cringe of my wife, that are not so fresh or partially crushed on one side. I hope to do better by bearing spiritual fruits.

If buying fruits is tough, then I presume growing fruit trees must be terribly tough. The world of orchard management is a harsh one. Trees that do not produce good fruits are cut down. In the spiritual orchard management, the Holy Spirit is also onetough farmer.

"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away" (John 15:2). 

However, Jesus comforts us that we are given chances to bear fruits before the ultimatum is being exercised.

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, “Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?” But he answered and said to him, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9).

Trees that produce good fruits are pruned to maximise their output. The word that comes to my mind is ‘pain’! 

To provide salvation for our souls, Jesus had to go through pain of the Calvary. The disciples went through the pain of torture and martyrdom just to share the Gospel. So why should you and I be exempted from pain as we grow in the Lord.  

The pain of discipline and abstinence is all a part of our Christian discipleship. Paul the Apostle admonished the Christians to "have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10).

This means that the fruits of our salvation are good works. We must clarify that we do not do good works to gain salvation but these fruits are borne as the result of the perfect work of Christ on the Cross. In another word, good works will not get us to heaven but they are the expressions and fruits of our salvation. Paul understood this well, "And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful" (Titus 3:14). 

The Born-again believers are filled with the love and grace of God. With these, they learn to be sensitive and respond to the needs and struggles of the people around. The fruits of good work also include financial sacrifice. The early believers gave to the poorer Christians in Jerusalem and Paul mentioned this financial offering as a fruit. The spirit of sacrifice is also considered as a fruit (Philippians 4:16-17). Praising God and giving thanks to Him is also known as the ‘fruit of our lips’ (Hebrews 13:15).

Walking with the Lord through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit will bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:16,22-23). 

All these experiences that the believers have the privilege of enjoying are desired by many in the world. Therefore bearing fruits is a form of lifestyle evangelism. Producing good fruits does not only glorify God but also show the world what the true love of God is all about.

Rev Albert Kang

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