“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Root and Fruit

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.” (Jn. 15:4).
“Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He [My Father] taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (Jn. 15:2).
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (Jn. 15:3).

The fruit of righteousness is beautiful. Most people love fruit. It’s sweet and juicy and healthful. The fruit of righteousness is no different. Just think of it—honesty, self-sacrifice, responsibility, burden-bearing, purity, industriousness, contentedness, modesty deference, gentleness, meekness, faith, to respect, to edify, to love, and much more. It’s all very good. We can trust someone with these character traits. We can rest easy around them.

But, for the sinner who has none of these fruits, or for a person negligent in one of these qualities but who hears of his particular short-coming over and over again, in the short term or the long term, if he never hears of God’s provision to help him be obedient and good, then either he will throw away any hope to be good or he will assume he should strive real hard, with all the natural born resources he owns, to produce the fruit.

On the other hand, the root of righteousness is also beautiful. How can we produce fruit without first producing roots? It’s impossible. It takes roots to draw moisture and nutrients from the earth in order for the tree to give that food and water to the branches for fruition. The root is absolutely necessary in order for the tree to get the fruit.

So, as sinners who have no root for righteousness of ourselves, if we spend time with Jesus in His word, He will become our root. By abiding, by enjoying faith in Him, by living and walking with Him daily, hourly, moment by moment, our root gets bigger and stronger; our root system spreads out and develops. Then, naturally, without effort, the fruit appears; first the bud, then the flower, then the fully ripened fruit.

If I teach the root, which is righteousness by faith in Jesus, but I don’t talk about the fruit, which is His righteousness, then I lead people into lawlessness. Without informing them of the fruit of righteousness, Satan will confuse them as to the character of Jesus, because the fruit reveals Him. To ignore the fruit is to never know Jesus’ righteousness. Then, that old wily devil will impersonate Jesus but lead us to follow after a character that has fruit unlike Jesus’ fruit.

On the other hand, if I teach the fruit of righteousness and nothing about the root of righteousness, then I send people into legalism. The fruit without faith in Jesus is sin, just as the law alone without Jesus worketh wrath and is the strength of sin. The root without works of righteousness is dead and sin. Either intentional or ignorant dismissal of righteousness leads to death. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.…
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” (Rom. 6:17,21).

Therefore, the solution is to strive for both root and fruit, to teach both so to spare the hearer of either extreme or bondage of sin—either legalism or lawlessness.

Jesus taught both the root and the fruit.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.…
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.…
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.…
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; …
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” (Matt. 5:17-18,20-22,27-28,31-40).

And all the while, He showed His love for the multitude sitting on the mount of blessing as they listened charmed. He gave them the root in person. while He explained the fruit to them.

We know that by beholding we become changed into the same image. If all I behold is the expectation of God in the fruit of righteousness—that is, the Law—then I live in the bondage of condemnation and I will abuse others with the Bible. If I only behold the science of salvation in righteousness by faith, that is, the root of righteousness, but I neglect to behold the standard of righteousness which faith brings us to, or if I neglect to put the science of salvation into practice which obtains the sanctification it is the science for, not initiating the Spirit-given mechanism to let righteousness by faith work for its purpose of producing fruit, then I promulgate the lawless life, and will suffer in a life without the blessings that always accompany goodness and graciousness—I continue in the hold sin has on me.

The bondage of the sin-filled life is no better or worse than the bondage of the law-filled life; its all bondage and condemnation and shame—and control by the devils. Neither life of sin or life of good behavior cleanses me of the guilt and power of sin and connects me with the power and blessedness of the Holy Spirit.

We need both the root and the fruit. We need to study both the root and the fruit—both resting in Christ’s grace and in His righteousness as revealed in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. In fact, when the Bible speaks of one of the two aspects, it assumes both. Jesus put them together when He said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.
And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” (Jn, 5:39,40). We need to keep searching the Law of God, for it is what paints a picture of Jesus and His beauty.

In the case of the Jews, they knew righteousness. The fruit is all they looked at; they never sought out the root or science of how to obtain the righteousness. They strove for the fruit but never attained it. Why? Because they never strove for the root also, which was the grace of Christ and His invitation to abide in His love. “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” (Rom. 9:31,32).

This is the condition of the current religious world; that is, every religion, the world round.

In the case of the Gentiles, they sought only the root, the source of life and failed to reach the true Root, the Unknown God. They never bothered to examine their fruit because they lost hope in ever having good fruit. The result was their being tapped into the wrong root—Satan’s idolatry.

“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom. 1:29-32).

This describes the whole secular, non-religious world today, caught up in celebrating life and all that stimulates it.

Could God save this situation in the Roman age? Both camps religious and secular, abstinent and hedonist, were enslaved to Satan and bound in sin, both camps demon-possessed.

Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. Desire of Ages, p. 35.

How can God save our wretched world today? How did God save the Roman world? “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. 2:13-18).

He taught both law and grace, and the Father, too, brought them both to the cross where His infinite justice met His infinite mercy, where He poured a deluge of condemnation upon His dear Son and out of Christ’s belly flowed rivers of living water.

Having only half of the picture destroys the picture. Let’s accept both Law and grace, even if the condemn us. And let’s drink of the water of life freely.


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