December 11, 2020

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit (Matthew 12:33).

This is a recurring theme of Jesus (Matthew 3:10; 7:15-20; 13:23 and parallel passages). What is His point?

In essence, Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Be honest for once. Either acknowledge you are evil, or repent of your sin of blasphemy.” The application of the argument is this: “You guys judge Me as being in league with Satan by the things I do. If My teachings and My works are those of Satan, then I am corrupt, My ministry is rotten, and I need to repent. If, on the other hand, My teachings and My works are the power of the Holy Spirit, then despite your ‘profession’ of holiness and righteousness, your words and works are evil and you need to repent of your sin and follow Me.”

There is a big difference between those who ‘profess’ genuine faith and those who ‘possess’ genuine faith. A person is not holy and righteous because he/she says so, but because the Holy Spirit produces such evidence (fruit) in a person’s life.

Jesus came to establish His Kingdom among men, beginning with the Jews. His Kingdom is one of holiness, righteousness, and justice. Principles of ethics and conduct (fruit) are to be examined and proven. People are to be judged by the Holy Spirit according to their lives - not their birth, social, economic, or religious status, or personal profession. Those lives that do not bear good ‘fruit’ (see Galatians 5:22-25) will be rejected.

This is a very striking and direct threat of Jesus to the Pharisees and to all of us. People can make a fair and promising profession of faith, as good trees produce leaves and blossoms. But they must bear good fruit as well as leaves and flowers. There must be evidence of a holy and righteous life that proves one's profession of faith is genuine. This cannot be rehearsed or mimicked. The good fruit of the Spirit is just that - the fruit of the Spirit. Only He can produce this proof of genuine faith a person.

Is the Holy Spirit producing such proof in your life? Does the Holy Spirit bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God? Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified (2 Corinthians 13:5).

“Lord Jesus, thank You for Your words in this passage. It must have been a shock to the Pharisees when they heard it, but Your words are truth, then and now, that need to be heard and appreciated in the life. Continue to examine my life and ministry by Your Holy Spirit. It is my desire to be pleasing in Your sight. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”


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