Monday, July 21, 2014

BE FRUITFUL


Romans 7:4 says "So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God".

Building on his argument in chapter 6, Paul said we died to the law through the body of Christ. When we received Christ, we were "buried with him". We received the benefits of his death, the sacrifice that satisfied the law and fulfilled it. We also received the benefits of is resurrection. We have a new life, not bound by the law, not bound to sin, and freed to live for Christ.

Since Christ freed us from sin, we belong to him. (7:4) We do not belong to ourselves. We belong to him for a purpose, to bear fruit for God.

Jesus told a parable about bearing fruit for God. It is recorded in Luke 20:9-19. In the story, a man planted a vineyard and rented it to tenants. He sent servants to collect some of the fruit of the vine, to which he was entitled as owner. But the tenants beat the three servants that came. He then sent his son, who would inherit the vineyard someday, but they killed him so they would have the inheritance.

The owner of the vineyard is a symbol for God. The vineyard is God's kingdom. The put these tenants there to cultivate his kingdom and produce fruit for him. The tenants are a symbol of the Jews. They did not produce fruit for God. The ran the kingdom for their benefit and as they pleased. They rebelled against God repeatedly. Way back in the time of Isaiah, centuries before Jesus' ministry, God condemned the failure of his vineyard, Israel, to produce fruit and threatened to destroy it. (Isaiah 5:1-7)

At the end of the parable, Jesus said the owner will come and kill the tenants and give the vineyard to others. (Luke 20:17) He gave the vineyard to the church. And now we have the responsibility to bear fruit for God. Since bearing fruit is the result of receiving Christ, it is also the sign that we have received Christ. In other words, if you do not bear fruit, you have not received Christ's salvation. For example, Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees that every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:8) He also said a good tree bears good fruit. (Matthew 7:17)

Our fruit is the character that reflects Christ and the works he prepared for us to do. Galatians 5:22 gives us a list of the fruits of the Spirit, the character trait that the Holy Spirit builds into the believer. In Colossians 1:10, Paul urges us to live lives worthy of Jesus, bearing fruit in every good work.

It is a new week. Be fruitful in good works and good character. Let the Holy Spirit have full control of your life and spend the week for the glory of the Lord who saved us. Soli Deo Gloria.

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