Think About This:“In the Gospel the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit that we are flawed, because we know we won’t be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness. Our hope is in Christ’s righteousness, not our own, so it is not as traumatic to admit our weaknesses and lapses. “— Tim Keller
Pursuing The Worthy Fruits of Repentance
Posted on June 2, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” – Romans 6:21-22 (NKJV)
So, there’s a lot of biblical instruction that contains insights from the agricultural realm. While I’m a guy who likes all that “iron sharpening iron” and “putting on the full armor of God” stuff, not paying attention to the seed-bearing fruits of biblical instruction can prove to be more harmful to your walk than puttin’ on a helmet, charging into battle, and finding out you forgot your sword. For as much as there is an excitement that rises up in me when I’m reading about those battles that took place in Scripture, there should be that same excitement when I see terms like, harvesting, fertilizing, planting, plowing, sowing, weeding (geez this sounds more like work doesn’t it?) or grapes, olives, figs, oxen, wheat, corn, barley, and we can’t forget the flowers (although my wife accuses me of this a lot) …but it don’t.
Fun fact moment: Actually, our first assignment was to maintain The Garden, “Then the LORD GOD took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” And another point to make, before I get to movin’, is on the third day of Creation, Elohim commands that the earth bring forth not only grass but seed-bearing herbs and fruit trees. Then Scripture goes on to say that the seed-bearing was of its own kind. So, if you have an apple seed and you plant it, you’re gonna get an apple tree that’ll produce apples, that’s it. No matter how much you call an apple tree, let’s say – a hog, it’ll keep producing apples and not bacon. Now that is truly a sad truth; but pay attention to that third day moment.
Now, whether you know it or not, we humans can not only be seed-bearing fruits, in the physical sense, but we can be seed-bearing fruits in the spiritual sense. In the physical sense, we’re just following the ground rules for pro-creation; but in the spiritual sense, there’s a lot of plowing, planting, fertilizing, weeding, and harvesting that goes on. That kinda work takes place in our hearts and we’ll need, not only God’s Word to point out what needs to be tended to, but we’ll also need a heart that has yielded itself to Christ and what He teaches.
“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” – Matthew 3:8
I read somewhere that repentance is not a single action, but a cause. So, to illustrate that I’ll point to the moment when those wacky Pharisees and Sadducees show up along the banks of Jordan River where John the Baptist has been baptizing folks. John straight-up tells those religious leaders that “even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10) I can only imagine the expressions that were on the faces of those who knew that they weren’t bearing nuttin’ worthy of repentance. They were resting in their knowledge that animal sacrifices covered their naughtiness. What they didn’t understand was that Jesus was bringing that to an end and they should know better anyway.
In John 15:16 we read, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” Even though it appears that Jesus is just generally speaking in terms of instruction, what He’s really covering is what it will be like abiding in The Vine. Answered prayer is directly attached to fruit-bearing. His disciples will have fruit that endures, not just within themselves, but will spread out into others (seed-bearing disciples my friend). There’s growth through doing those ministerial duties such as preaching the Good News and shepherding those who wish to remain abiding to The Vine.
So, what of the fruits of the Spirit? Glad ya asked. That is a long list to speak to, but the apostle Paul understood one thing about them and that is, “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13) So when you see words like guide, led, and tell, you can rest assured that your God has chosen to persuade, rather than force, us into truth. It’s there where you’ll find “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Those are seed-bearing fruits worthy of repentance.
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, and a father. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” – Hebrews 2:9