Fruit Basket Upset
For far tooooooo long the Christian faith has been putting all of its fruit in one basket. We have been mixing fruit that does no good for the soul with fruit that can see a man unto eternal life. We have been mixing rotten fruit with good fruit.
Unfortunately, pastors are taught in seminary that all fruit mentioned in the Bible is the same kind of fruit and they mistakenly use them synonymously. Pastors lead their congregations into accepting both the bad fruit and the good fruit as evidence of a faith in a believer’s life. They then preach about both kinds of fruit and tell their congregation to live by them both. But this is not what scripture tells us to do.
Let me explain.
Paul lets us know that no one is justified by the works of the Law. This kind of fruit in a persons life may help to make them moral, but it can in no way bring them the tiniest bit closer to God.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
If we follow the Law of Moses, which is the first five books of the Bible, we may be better for it and much more moral before God, but we are not anymore acceptable to Him. In fact, living according to the Ten Commandments may make for a better society, which it does, but it does not help conform man himself. We remain lost in our sin. Sooooo, to live our lives with this kind of fruit is called the works of the Law. This is the kind of Fruit that does not bring spiritual life nor does it lead unto eternal life.
Now some may contend that no preacher in his right mind will advocate following the Law of Moses. But let me ask you this, are we free to live without the Law in our lives and sin as if there is no moral standard for the believer? Are we now free to steel, commit adultery or murder? The answer absolutely is not! Since this is the case, believers conclude, that yes the Law is dead for the Christian, but we still have to obey the Ten Commandments. Seminary helps to explain this duality of not having to obey the Law and still keeping the Ten Commandments (which is still part of the Law we are not supposed to obey as believers) by concluding two things. Firstly, they say we are not to obey the sacrificial law of the Old Testament. And secondly, we are still to obey the moral law found in that same Old Testament. Even though the New Testament does not make any such a distinction, theologians do.
What does this leave us? We have preachers of the gospel who preach that we are not to obey the Law, because we cannot commend ourselves as righteous to God because of any obedience to the Law, even the Ten Commandments. But… before we take that truth and run with it, we are reminded as the saints of God of our absolute need and necessity to keep that one small part of the Law called the Ten Commandments.
Ironically, when we think someone in the New Testament holds this same opinion as the church does on the importance of that one small part of the Law, many and I mean many, believers completely reject what this New Testament writter is saying because it seems to us to go against what Paul is saying.
Jas 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
James makes it very clear that something besides the so called faith in God is necessary for a man to be justified. And many in the church reject what James says because we think it is contradictory to Paul who says it is all by grace and not the works of the Law we are saved.
This leaves the church with pastors who have to juggle the gospel to make us realize we do not have to obey the Law, except that one part. Preachers have to juggle by grace only an not by works at all with James who says it takes more than faith but evidence to make a man born again.
But why all the confusion? Why all this apparent contradiction that has infiltrated the church from the Seminaries? Are Christians doomed to deal with these apparent paradoxes while contending in the infallibility of God’s word? Is there any way out for the church and still be scriptural?
Simply, the church has confused two kinds of fruit. One fruit is the fruit in a person’s life that comes from obeying the Law. The other fruit comes in a person’s life by being born again and living in the Spirit. Two different kinds of fruit, one as good as rotten when it comes to living in the righteousness of God. The other is the good fruit and is the kind of fruit God looks for in His people. But there is the poor pastor thinking they are the same kind of fruit and Sunday after Sunday he gets up behind the pulpit and juggles for us one more time.
The church, and theologians, need to understand that Paul, speaking of not by works but by grace, is speaking of the bad fruit which is obeying the Law. For by it no one will be saved. And yes, this includes the Ten Commandments. James, when he speaks of works, he is speaking of the other fruit…the good fruit of the Spirit, which is actually the evidence of the saving work of God in our lives.
There is no need for the poor preacher to have to juggle these man made paradoxes anymore. We simply need to understand our gospel. What is our gospel? Here it is in condensed form.
As we know it is not by works of the Law, even the Ten commandments, but by God’s grace we are saved.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
In order to participate in this grace we have to be born again in the Spirit.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Our new life in Christ is not under the old covenant of the Law which was under Aaron, but under the order of Melchisedec. As different as these two priesthoods are is the same differences between the life lived by obeying the Law and the life lived in the power of the Spirit.
Heb 7:11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
Heb 7:12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
As believers we are not to live according to the Law, but by the power of an endless life through the Spirit.
Heb 7:15-16 KJV And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, (16) Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
The saints are no longer under the carnal commandment but under the power of this endless life in Christ. Through this new power of the endless life we can die to the flesh and live in the Spirit.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Just because we die to the flesh and mortify the deeds of the flesh through serving God in the Spirit doesn’t mean we serve the Law. What it means is that we actually in the end fulfill the Law, not because we serve it, rather because we live in the power of the endless life in the Spirit.
Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Rom 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Rom 8:3-4 KJV For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
If we understand that believers are not obligated to live according to any moral code found in the Law, this includes the Ten Commandments, we do not have to confuse believers anymore. The duality of serving in the flesh which is under the Law and living according to the Spirit, by which we actually fulfill the righteousness sought through the Law, becomes null and void . There is no need for the pastor to juggle this false teaching for his congregation anymore. In fact there is no need to juggle the debate between Paul and James anymore either. What he can do, is simply pass out the truth of gospel, the one good fruit found in living by the power of the Spirit.
Pastors can quit preaching errors perpetrated in seminaries and start preaching The Gospel According to the Gospel. But understanding there are two kinds of fruit spoken of in the Bible and they are not supposed to used synonymously is the gospel the church refuses to believe. Will you believe it?