[CF Devotionals] 2009-12-02 - Good Fruit/Works

Hosea 14:8, “Out of Me comes your fruit.”

There is an apple tree, outside my window at the church, that I don’t bother with any more. I tried for a while to find a good apple on it, but many times, I have come up empty. This year I am just letting it sit. I will not bother to even bother with it. It produces bad fruit. Christians, however, by God’s grace, can produce good fruit. Today we have before us a little phrase, but there is a lot of meaning packed in this thought from God’s Word. Let us look at two things here. Let us consider that our fruit is, in fact, our fruit. Secondly, let us consider that it comes from God. “Apart from Me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.

Maybe it seems an obvious point, but it is true. The Holy Spirit may work in us, and so give us the desire and ability to do good works, but we still do them. The fruit that we bear is an overflow of what the Spirit has worked in us. The true Christian longs for holiness and usefulness. It is the Christian’s true desire to be doing for the Lord. The good that the Christian does – he or she really does. The Spirit does not repent for us. The Spirit does not give the drink to the thirsty. We do these things. If anyone desires further proof that good works are really our works, I would point out that we know they are our work, because we lament over them. We feel bad that they are not better. Our best works are imperfect, mixed with sin. It is our unhappy reality to know this, but it shows that our works are, in fact, our works.

The other issue to consider is that all our works proceed from God, as the first principle. It is because of our union with Christ, that we even can do good works. This does not negate what we said above. We still do them, but we do them because the Lord has changed our ruling principle. We have to understand that we derive all from the Lord. It is His providence, providential grace really, that even places us in a position to do good works. We bring out from what we have been given.

Let us be certain that we never seek to bear fruit to earn God’s favor, or to think that somehow we can win His love. I see this creeping out all too often. It is the concept that God will reward, or owes us something, if we do what we should. Since it is true that all the fruit that we ever bear we first got from God, let us never think that we are bringing Jesus a present by serving Him. He does not need us. It is an honor to be used by Him. He could raise up better servants unto His glory, from off the sidewalk.

Lastly, never let us think that we cannot do good work, or come to Christ, because we are not good enough. The only fitness for coming to Christ is need – and we all have that. We don’t have to purify ourselves so that Christ can make us pure. He does all that work, or it is not done at all. We come to Christ filthy, without fruit, and He purifies us, thus making us able to bear fruit unto Him.

Soli Deo Gloria,
T-

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