Fruit or Works
Works are the result of our faith. Fruit is a result of our understanding and faith in God.
The parable of the sower seed and soils teaches us about the relationship of works and faith.
Our faith bears fruit or works. As a 2x2, we didn't talk much about "works", so I will refer to the idea of "fruit" here more.
Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Have you noticed the idea of fruit and seed emphasized so much in Genesis? I believe it is because it is a fundamental concept that must be understood first so that the gospel can be understood.
Genesis 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And in the New Testament of the Bible, this point about seed and fruit is brought out again.
Galations 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Scripture clearly bears out that the seed determines the plant that grows. Every plant has a certain type of fruit. And the fruit contains the seed. The scripture elaborates more on this fundamental principle.
Matthew 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Am I Saved?
Can I know if I am saved? Can I know if I believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Certainly. I have found that my fruit/works show where my faith is. I have immense relief knowing whether I am saved before I die. God does not want us to be doubtful of our salvation.
Can We Know if Others are Saved?
Let me rephrase this question "Can you know a tree or a seed by its fruit? Yes, of course.
Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
An example of knowing whether someone had faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, you may remember John the Baptist when some people wanted to get baptized by him. Do you remember how strongly he chided them?
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
John brings up an interesting point. Who had warned the Pharisees and Sadducees? Did the people who warned them teach them to repent? Is it proper to preach that people can be saved without repenting? Can people be saved if there is no evidence of repentance. If I am a thief and claim to be saved but never quit stealing nor make restitution, do you think I am saved?
Jesus Christ and his disciples taught people to repent. It is a basic concept related to salvation. Evidently the Pharisees and Sadducees were not repenting, so John would not baptize them. He did not see fruits of repentance in their lives. John knew that they had not repented. There is fruit or works that manifest themselves in our lives that reflects our faith and our beliefs.
Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ teaches that faith without works are dead. It is not our own works that saves us, but our faith and the grace of God granting us salvation. But if we say we have faith, but there are no works, then it is a sign that we don't don't really have faith in God. We can be just lying.
There are also related concepts of deception (tricking people by imitating works: like a pedophile posing as a minister so he can get into people's houses to have access to their kids or like a preacher who teaches he is a true servant of God and you have to go to his meetings to be saved - to get you to come to meetings frequently so he can brainwash you)
I have found that I need to be a careful judge of works. Are people doing something as they are led of the Spirit, or are they passing something off as the work of God which is really just the desire of the flesh?
2Pe 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
Sometimes people can have great words, but their works don't line up with their speech.
A brief overview of what I learned: Jesus Christ created heaven and earth (John 1:3), he has authority over all (John 13:3), he has given commandments (Matthew 5:22) and we have all broken at least one commandment (sinned) and disobeyed God (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are all sinners and in bondage to sin (John 8:34). Jesus Christ offered his holy, harmless, undefiled life once as a sacrifice to atone for our sins (Hebrews 7:26-27) to redeem us from sin (Titus 2:14) and if we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we will receive power, born again, (John 1:12) be redeemed, forgiven, reconciled to God, baptized by Jesus Christ in the Holy Ghost (Matthew 3:11), have works that glorify God and enjoy eternity in heaven with Him.
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Blood of Jesus Christ
Fruit and Works
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|