Q. I have a question for you regarding ‘the fruit of the Spirit’. Jesus said we would recognize Christians in the same way as we would recognize a good tree – because it bears good fruit. As Christians though, we continue to sin and constantly bear ‘bad fruit’ – easily recognizable by our un-Christlike behavior. Does this mean that we are not truly saved or born of the Spirit?
A. In John 15:5-6 Jesus said that if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit, but apart from Him we can do nothing. Remember, being saved and bearing fruit are not the same. Salvation requires only belief. Bearing fruit doesn’t happen until after we’re saved. So the fruit in our life is not evidence of salvation, but of the power of God working through us.
Many Christians live spiritually meaningless lives because haven’t “remained in Him”. They fail to confess the sins they commit and they go off on their own without seeking His guidance. They appear to be doing OK by secular standards but they don’t realize their life is of no value to the Kingdom. They’re apart from Him and can do nothing. They’re still on the right side of pardon but they’re on the wrong side of power. Their lives bear no testimony to the incredible blessing that the Lord provided for them.
The cure for this is to apply Romans 12:1-2, to stop conforming to the patterns of this world and become transformed by the renewal of their minds, making their whole life a living sacrifice to God. Then they’ll discover His will for them and will receive the power to perform it. In the process they’ll become immeasurably happier and the world will begin to see the good fruit they bear.