Q. Re: Recognized By Their Fruit. You are not saying that believers will or must produce fruit or their faith is not genuine, right? Fruit is only evidence of belief & not a litmus test. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved is what the Bible says & nothing added to it, correct? I’m asking because I have believer friends who think no fruit means no belief, and I think only God knows the heart & anything else is works.
A. No believer “has to” produce fruit. As long as we remain submissive to the Lord’s will in our life the bearing of fruit will come naturally.
In fact, believers who go their own way and do their own thing cannot produce fruit no matter how hard they try. Jesus said, “If a man remains in Me and I in him he will produce much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
He also compared them to the seed that falls among thorns. The worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth make them unfruitful (Matt. 13:22).
In 1 Cor. 3:12-15 Paul said believers who produce no fruit are still saved, but as one escaping through the flames. The absence of fruit means we’re not following the Lord’s will for our life. It doesn’t mean we aren’t saved.
This is something the “faith plus works” people don’t understand. Unless our works are prompted by the Holy Spirit they’re of no value to the Kingdom no matter how successful they appear to be. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.”
But when the Holy Spirit guides us, things no one on earth would take notice of can be of great value to the Lord.
This is why Paul cautioned us to not to judge what we see in others before the appointed time. He said, “Wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the hidden motives of men’s hearts” (1 Cor. 4:5).