#4 - What the Gospels Teach - Matt 3:8-10 - Fruit is the Condition

John the Baptist continues speaking out against the group of Pharisees and Sadducees who came to be baptized. He just finishes calling them a brood of vipers, and then asks them who told them to flee from the wrath to come and he continues with this...

"Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:8-10 NASB)

John is being crystal clear hear that it is not about who you are, what your back ground or genealogy is when it comes to the kingdom of God. Clearly the Pharisees and Sadducees had every reason to believe they were the chosen of God because of their lineage. John basically smashes that notion when he reminds them that God can raise anyone up to be Abraham’s child (lineage). So of course you can imagine everyone looking on wondering what exactly the condition was for the kingdom of heaven.

The condition is clear, “...every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Now people can spin that anyway they want, but John is perfectly in sync with Jesus on this, and the teaching is clear that the condition is good fruit! Good fruit always indicates a lifestyle of good deeds, or works performed according to God’s will. If someone does not bear good fruit, well they will be cut down and cast into the fire. There is a dependence on good fruit for salvation.

Unfortunately we have a tendency not to read the scriptures as they are, and we try our best to systemize all the scriptures together (not a bad thing to do) in order that we come to a logical understanding that does not contradict itself. Unfortunately the first thing everyone ‘systemizes’ away is this notion that works, or bearing good fruit is a requirement for salvation, yet this very fact is clearly taught in the gospels. Instead, we take Paul’s letters apply them to the gospels in order to somehow lighten the command to produce fruit. I imagine if Paul were here today it would make him sick to see how we have used his teachings to dull the words of Jesus and John the Baptist.

I do not know how many times I have to iterate this, salvation is by faith alone, faith will produce good fruit, if there is no good fruit, there is no salvation. “...every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” It really does not get clearer than that.

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