Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Central Reason for Christian Fruitfulness

John 15:7-9a

7 • If you abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.

8 • By this my Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit
and so prove to be my disciples.

9 • As the Father has loved me,
so have I loved you.

Imagine that a branch might develop doubts about whether or not it is grafted into the vine, 'I feel like I'm grafted into the vine but how do I know that it isn't something that I'm imagining.? Does the vine know that I'm grafted into it? Does the farmer know that the graft has taken?' Now branches don't think (I was going to write, 'don't think like that.') but the grafted-into-Christ Christian does sometimes think like that as some of you well know, 'Are my feelings about being a Christian really dependable? Does Christ believe in me? What if God doesn't recognize me to be a believer?'
Well we quickly get reassurance from what it is we believe in. If we believe then God knows it and if we believe then Christ's life is in us and the question is reduced back to, 'But am I really a believer?' It matters because it is the believer that is grafted into Christ. The love of God for Christ is the same love with which Christ loves the believer but the corollary of that is that the untrue believer is a branch that is fit for nothing but burning.
The living out of the grace of God in the life of the believer is not left alone to testify that the believer is grafted into Christ. Others are more likely to see the fruit of the Spirit bursting out in our lives than we are ourselves but we have a measure of how spiritually alive we are that is more accessible to us than that God is glorified in the fruitfulness of believers and that measure — not to be hijacked away from its place beside the joint witnesses of the Spirit of God and the Word of God — is the answer to prayer.

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