Fruit Inspectors

Q. Question, both Mt. and Luke talk about “Judge not and you will not be judged” but we are to inspect for good fruit, right? I have a sister that I try to witness to but she makes me feel guilty because of this. She is a great person but used to be part of a church that thinks every one is going to heaven.

A. The admonition to avoid judging people is clear. Both Matt. 7:1-2 and Luke 6:37 warn that those who insist upon doing so risk having their lives judged by the same standard they use in judging the lives of others. In 1 Cor. 4:5 Paul said to leave the judging to the Lord who alone knows our hidden motives. It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not, and whose works are good and whose are not. Only the Lord can determine that.

In Matt. 7:20 the idea of inspecting for good fruit is given in the context of evaluating false teachers and was not meant as a general principle. If it was the Lord would have been contradicting what He said in the passages I cited above. He was saying that false teaching can not produce true believers.

This doesn’t mean no true believers can emerge from a church that teaches false doctrine. It means the false doctrine itself can not produce true believers. Many have become believers in places that teach false doctrine, but it’s because they decided to learn what the Bible says for themselves instead of taking someone else’s word for it.

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