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Does genuine faith bear fruit? Yes, that much is clear. But how much fruit? And how quickly does the fruit grow on the branches of a person’s life? And does every kind of fruit grow on all of the branches all of the time? The Bible simply does not ever go so far as to suggest these kinds of things. It never suggests that genuine faith bears fruit all the time and in every way.
The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one. “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus. “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul. “Faith without works is dead,” says James. Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ—the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God—is a fruit-bearing faith. True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus. And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.” It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.
Way - Relationship - Faith - Relationship - Roots
To put it another way, the relationship between faith and works is like the relationship between the roots of a tree and the fruit that a tree produces. In this case, you and I are the trees, the roots are our faith, and the fruits are our works.[i] Specifically, a Christian tree is one whose roots go down into and...
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