Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4 (ESV)
Once we have been converted and acknowledge Jesus as Lord it is expected that our lives will reflect our confession of faith in Christ. A person whose life shows no change has yet to be converted. Jesus himself said, For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. (Luke 6:43-44 ESV) In his explanation of the parable of the sower, Jesus said that the good soil is the one who hears the word of God, understands it and bears fruit (Matthew 13:23; Mark 4:20). Jesus also said that bearing fruit is proof that a person is his disciple (John 15:8).
The only way a person can bear good fruit is to be and stay united to Christ. Jesus said, Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5 ESV) In fact, the reason God called us to be united with Christ is so that we would bear fruit. Jesus told his disciples, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15:16 ESV)
It seems that scripture speaks of two kinds of fruit a disciple of Jesus should produce; the fruit of good character and the fruit of good works. Paul wrote to the Galatians, But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. (Galatians 5:22-23 AMP)
The other fruit we are supposed to produce in our lives is that of good works. To the Colossians Paul wrote, . . . so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10 ESV) Those good works would include meeting the needs of other Christians, making disciples, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and taking care of widows and orphans (Matthew 25:31-40, 28:18-20; James 1:27, 2:14-17).
There are consequences for not bearing fruit. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and Sadducees who were coming to his baptism, Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10 ESV) However, there is a reward for those who do bear fruit. Jesus said, Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2 ESV)
The purpose for us bearing good fruit is so that the character of God will be displayed and his name exalted. Jesus said, By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8 ESV) Our actions should prove that we belong to Christ and that he is our most valuable treasure.
Are you bearing fruit?
Scriptures for meditation: