Devotion #3 - Fruit and evidence
I see this line of God’s faithfulness throughout the story of humanity. But running right along side it there runs a storyline of men and women coming up with their own strategies for how to deal with sin. We know that there is a problem and we’re desperate to make it right again.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve instincitively knew that they needed to be covered. Sin required it. They tried it their way first. But hiding behind trees and bushes simply wouldn’t solve the problem. No hiding, no patching together their own covering, no faithfulness on their part could undo the damage that had been done. Only God could make a way.
The Lord God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.
God was faithful even then to create a covering for Adam and Eve. The animal skins pointed to two realities. The first is that God was going to have to make a way. The second was that the reversal of the curse of sin was going to require blood.
The pharisees were known for being show offs. They liked to cover themselves in an appearance of holiness. But their holiness didn’t have any root. Jesus called them white-washed tombs. Clean and pretty on the outside, dead and rotting on the inside.
They worked hard to display the fruit of holiness. The fruit of holiness is a beautiful and a wonderful thing to develop and pursue. The problem is, without being planted by God in Christ, any appearance of fruit in our lives is only fake fruit meant for show. It’s not real. We put this fruit on display to try and earn the admiration of God or the people around us.
But we can’t earn God’s admiration. We can’t earn our way back to God. We can’t cover up our sin with the leaves of our good works and the appearance of holiness. The Pharisees had it backwards, and so often I do too. It’s impossible to bear fruit in hopes of becoming rooted. You only bear real fruit after being planted.
We have to be planted by God first. That why Jesus said,
Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be uprooted.
Only those who are rooted in the faithfulness of God through Christ will bear real fruit. When I’m planted in the faithfulness of God, I find that I’m not as interested in trying to show off or impress anymore. I’m free to bear fruit and pursue holiness simply because it’s the person I want to be. Simply because I want to honor and love the One who planted me. Simply because I want to be all that He made me to be. The fruit is real because it’s no longer for show. This kind of fruit isn’t trying to earn its way into the Vine, it’s sourced by the Vine it’s already rooted in.
This is the Gospel that the Pharisees struggled to accept. The Gospel that I so often struggle to accept. I want to be faithful. I want to be made right with God. I want to grow in holiness. But the only way to truly do any of that is to allow God to root my faith in His work on my behalf through Christ. The more that my faith is rooted in His faithfulness, the more real fruit I bear. And that fruit ends up being evidence. Not evidence that I am awesome, but evidence that I have been planted by God Himself.