Good Trunk, Good Fruit
Good fruit does not just come from nowhere.
Good intentions and ideologies are not enough.
2 Peter 1: 5-7
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity (love).
These are the qualities needed to produce good fruit:
2 Pet 1: 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lacking these qualities makes one spiritually blind, even if he is saved. This makes him prone to error.
2 Pet 1: 9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
So to be a successful witness, and to make our election sure, we need to develop these qualities and virtues.
Otherwise, we are useless to God and incomplete:
2 Pet 1 : 10 Therefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Even if someone is saved, it does not mean they will produce good fruit.
This is one reason the bible says not to allow a newly saved person be in leadership, since he may easily fall into pride.
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
He needs to mature in the faith first by building his character.
Otherwise, he still has some of his sin nature, and flesh that has not yet completely “died.”
As with good soil, good character is required.
Faith is at the root of the tree.
Notice that certain virtues build upon others.
There is a sequence of disciplines that build character and behavior.
Notice that Self control cannot come until there is knowledge and virtue.
One has to have a foundation of knowledge to realize the consequences of a lack of control.
Otherwise, one sees no reason to change and improve.
Perseverance only comes through testing of one’s faith, knowledge and virtues.
And if one has no self control, they will fail the test.
So godliness is not just feeling holy, because God loves us.
It is proof that we can be tested and pass the test.
It is proof that we are strong in our faith, we know what we believer, and have taken the time to develop our character, so that others can depend on us to represent God properly to the world.
One might be surprised that Love and Brotherly kindness are at the top of the trunk of the tree, only there after the other qualities are established.
One might think it is easy to love and be kind, since even the heathen can do this.
But we are called to a higher standard.
The heathen are not called to love and be kind to their enemies, and to seek after the poor and lost, and bring aid to them.
There are some charitable unbelievers, but do not do their charity unto the Lord, to His glory.
Their charity is also limited to those they approve of.
Godly love is more than “being nice” to someone, or making a tax deductible donation, or a nice feeling that God cares about us.
We are called to the lost, the rejected, the poor, the despised, and to our enemies, we need to forgive and turn our cheeks.
Godly Charity (Love) goes beyond helping the poor, and beyond nice, warm feelings.
It is action.
It also requires that we love the one who slandered us, or cheated us, or murdered a loved one.
It requires that we love the one who plots to take away our freedom or life, or to put us in bondage or slavery to them.
We need to demonstrate the unlimited love and mercy of YHVH God, not the conditional acceptance and charity of man.
If we are to be successful, then we must be sure of our faith, be knowledgeable, so we know what is required of us, reject sin, and accept virtue, be tested in trials, and be found righteous before both God and man, and continue in love, even if we do not have the human strength to do it.
We can never give up!
We must rely on the love of YHVH God within us, and we must be in intimate touch with the presence of God in order to do this.
Otherwise, we are only in the world, and not a light to it.
It is the love that shines and brings others to Christ.
And this love has to be developed and tested, and well established on the other virtues and faith, to bring forth good fruit.
The most blessed fruit will be saved souls, to the glory of God.