READ : Matthew 7:15-20
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (v. 20 NIV)
Jesus’ strong words in Matthew 7:21 may sound like salvation by works, but Jesus didn’t mean that. We are saved not by our obedience, but by Christ’s. We must simply trust him as Savior and Lord.
What Jesus meant is that trusting involves obeying. Or as he puts it in our reading for today, obedience is the natural fruit of faith in Jesus as Lord. When your faith in Christ yields the fruit of obedience, you know that you know Christ. The proof is in the doing.
What exactly did Jesus mean by “the will of my Father who is in heaven”? Well, in his next words he talks about “these words of mine.” He equates his words in the Sermon on the Mount with the will of his Father. That’s how you know. You measure your life by these words. The proof is in the doing of this sermon.
Jesus’ sermon talks about simple, hard things—being poor in spirit and pure in heart, being merciful and meek. He says we must cast out hatred and anger, perform miracles of sexual purity and marital fidelity, and show love even to those who are our enemies. He calls for quiet generosity to the poor, simple heartfelt prayer, a non-judgmental spirit towards others, and a godly willingness to put others before yourself. That’s the proof that you know Christ and that he knows you—the fruit of a Christ-like life.
Holy Spirit, produce a bumper crop of your fruit in me. Amen.
About the Author
Rev. Stan Mast is a retired pastor, serving as adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Seminary. Stan is approaching 50 years of marriage. He and his wife enjoy their two sons and their five grandchildren. In his spare time, Stan keeps trying to solve the mystery that is golf.