On Sunday evening we will be studying Chapter 16.2 of the Westminster Confession of Faith,
“These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.”
The question then becomes, am I bearing fruit? That question brings to mind more questions. Is there fruit and evidence in my life that I belong to Christ? Can others see Christ in me? Dare I ask anyone? I may think that I am bearing fruit. I may think that I reflect my faith, but I wonder at times what do others see in me?
In Matthew 3:7-10 we read of John the Baptist, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
John, speaking to the Jewish leaders of his day, is telling them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Too many today simply want to look good on the outside. Obedience motivated by legalism instead of love. Many others simply go along with the crowd. They focus on externals instead of the faith in Christ that brings forth true fruit.
Are you and I as Christians bearing fruit in keeping with our repentance? Is our obedience to the commandments of God motivated by a love for what God has done for us? Are we, as His people, seeking to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves? Or are we merely putting on an act?
If you look back to that section in the confession above it states the many blessings of good works that we were created in Christ to do. Our good works manifest our thankfulness to God (Ps. 116:12-14; Col. 3:15-17; 1 Peter 2:9). They strengthen our assurance of faith (1 John 2:3,5; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). They edify other believers in Christ (2 Cor. 9:2; Matt. 5:16; 1 Tim. 4:12). They adorn our profession of the Gospel (Titus 2:5, 9-12; 1 Tim. 6:1). They stop the mouths of adversaries (1 Pet. 2:12). And they glorify God (1 Pet. 2:12; Phil. 1:11).
You, as a believer in Christ, belong to Him. You were created for good works. May your life show forth the fruit and the evidence of your faith.