In the previous post, I said that the words of the bible are better experienced than defined (1 John 1:1). That point is important for us all to always remember.
It is necessary to note that there are people who do not have Christ in their heart yet they live righteously. The scripture warns us not to argue about this (1 John 3:7). This point is crucial in understanding the righteousness that God calls His people to- His righteousness that grows out as a fruit from His branches (Rom 11:6). God is not looking for the fruit of the righteous man. He is looking for the fruit that buds from His (Gods’) branches. This should not confuse anyone at all. There are many righteous people that are not godly.
Now, the scripture declares that any branch that does not bear fruit will be cut off, gathered and burnt. In the same vein, salt must retain its saltiness else it will be good for nothing but to be thrown away because its purpose is not being served (John 15:2 & 6, Matt 5:13, Rev 8:7). It is worthy to note that salt CANNOT make itself salty. The salt has to keep or persevere in its saltiness.
In Mark 11:12-14, we read an interesting story depicting the Lord’s reaction to the fig tree which speaks of followers of Christ. In Jer 17:6 the shrub typifies Christians who fail to put their trust in the Lord when they know they should because they are waiting for a change in their circumstance, i.e., fig season. Like the fig tree in Mark 11 they have many unprofitable seasons for the Lord- forgetting the instruction to worship and bear fruit in season and out of season. The shrub in Jer 17:6 does not know the time and seasons of the Lord and makes no adequate preparation to meet the Lord like the five foolish virgins. Therefore, this shrub believes in the theology of men’s wisdom but suddenly and unbelievably the Lord curses it which is equivalent to what the Lord said to the five foolish virgins after the door was shut, “I do not know you” (Matt 25:11-12). The door was shut against them contrary to what carnal minded theologians are teaching today.
Regarding Mark 11:13, we know without a shadow of doubt that Jesus knew the condition of that tree. Will He who knew that Nathanael was under the fig tree without physically seeing him there and knowing he was a man in whose spirit there was no guile, not know about the fig tree’s condition? (John 1:47-48). Judas was a tree that was not given to Jesus by His father though he was a follower of Jesus unlike Nathanael meaning “God has given”. Jesus without physically being on the earth today, still knows the trees that are abiding and bearing fruit. He does not need to come near or return first to find out.
Let us turn our attention again to Jer 17:7-8 and observe what the tree did that earned it commendation. Before we rush to talk about its fruit in verse 8 we can’t fail to talk about its trust in the lord which produced the visible fruit that the Lord was looking for. The fruit is constant in all seasons because nourishment comes to it ceaselessly. The trust and the river is the secret of the fruit harvest. The root is Jesus (Rom 11:18, Isa 11:10, Rom 15:12)
Many of us have unwisely and some deliberately failed to observe and acknowledge this mystery of godliness. Some say they have power to live righteously and have been trapped in legalism and holier than thou guilt ridden life and are looking for those that will be enslaved like them. Another group is forcefully arguing that the Lord is not too concerned about fruit because He knows we’re poor sinners who cannot be perfect while we’re in the mortal body defending their position with Paul’s statement in Rom 7:21 and other scriptures. These groups are to be highly pitied because the serpent has beguiled them like he did Eve- twisting the Holy word that is able to save not just our spirit but our soul too.
In this writing, I know the Lord is challenging anyone struggling with any sin be it Homosexuality, lust, drunkenness, spirit of preeminence, envy, backbiting – any kind of sin no matter how sinful, addictive and long lasting it has held you captive despite your profession of Christ, to enter into God’s open secret (Jesus Christ) with the weapon of trust in him by setting your mind on Him and staying unmovable in the place of his river (word). I guarantee you will experience a dimension of God’s mercy, grace (power), beauty of holiness, renewal of your mind and clarity of the person of Jesus Christ that moves the weak in Christ from one degree of glory to another and another and yet many more. The mind set on Christ overcomes sin (Heb 4:16).
Upon entrusting our lives to Jesus wholly and entirely our flesh is crucified and our bodies are continually being mortified. This way of submitting ourselves to Jesus not only as saviour but as our Lord opens a realm of reality that we’re in this world but not of this world and propels us to earnestly seek after our true home. It brings us into a realm of faith in God that is beyond the foundational as exhorted in (Heb 6:1-2). It helps us keep in sober judgment of ourselves and others and thrusts us into an understanding of God’s love that may present us as foolish and stupid in the eyes of the wise and religious champions of this world.
Indeed the Lord is looking for the weak and broken. May He find you and me!
The weak and broken are those who are breathless without consistent trust in the Lord and continuous study, proclamation and meditation on the living word. In Joshua 1:8 and Deut 17:19-20 we read these words “so that” and “that he may” which is an emphasis that no fruit will be produced without adherence to their preceding exhortation.
The ability to carry on with life normally and smoothly without the aforementioned admonition is a sign of those that are strong in themselves and have their own righteousness. With or without the Lord they can work for God and have plenty of leaves to present like the fig tree!
In John 2:1-8 & 9, Jesus did not just turn water into wine- He is that very wine. God is looking for new jars of clay (new wine skins) that He will pour His new wine (Jesus Christ) into and serve this thirsty world whose party wine has run out and disappointed them. He is not looking for old wine skin like the big brother of the prodigal son but He is urgently looking for priests and kings that will enjoy bond-servant-hood and who will be truly happy to welcome strayed sheep coming out of the pig’s pen. He is looking for those who will learn His heart of love, forgiveness and not lay claim to their own rights.
The newness of life that we as Christians live and enjoy is based only on the righteousness that God has credited to us in Christ. Our invitation now is to go ahead and start spending the credit like we will spend inherited cash. The cash so to speak, is not worked for, but the one who left the inheritance expects that the money be spent wisely. This privilege of the inheritance should not be used as an occasion for laziness, wickedness, or in such a way to disrespect and bring disgrace to the name of God (Gal 5:13).
To help achieve the above the one (Christ) who left the inheritance, sends a spokes man (Holy Spirit) to teach, guide and help us live in such a way that it will be maximally beneficial to us, bless others and ultimately bring praise and glory to him. That way, others will see and desire the same inheritance and it will constantly serve as an opportunity to point them to the giver of the inheritance who chooses those He gives the gift (salvation). Put more clearly, he actually stays in us and with us to spend the cash through us. The result is that we’re not actually the ones spending it but the real owner spending it through us the inheritors (….his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.1 Cor 15:10).
Now the task for us which we have been empowered to do is to allow him flow through us (Phil 3:9).This is not like the old regime where some men including Paul gained blameless righteousness (Phil 3:4-7).
But, we’re accustomed to spending our own cash (righteousness) which is not the accepted currency in the new country (God’s kingdom) we’ve been admitted into. This country does not practice democracy- in fact no election is permitted. Everyone in the kingdom is a servant serving as a priest and king under the King of kings.
God’s law has become the law of Christ; the law of Christ is what all that have been gifted with righteousness must live by and the only way to obey this law is to set our minds continually on Christ. Anyone who fails to grasp this truth for spiritual living will never abide in Christ as a branch (Rom 8:6a, 8 & 13a)
(…..Even though I am not subject to the law….. 1 Cor 9:20) and (…But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ 1 Cor 9:21)
Seeing all these things, what kind of persons ought we to be who claim to be followers of Christ! We ought to love and fear the Lord by setting our mind on Christ who has accomplished all of God’s requirements for us. He is still interceding for us that He may through us live out His father’s will as He did with mere unlearned fisher men like Peter and his colleagues, learned men like Barrister Paul and Dr Luke, the little boy with five loaves and two fish, the Samaritan woman and Rahab the prostitute.
Like Gideon, you are a mighty warrior equipped with a far better weapon than him and John the baptist. Therefore, let us fight with the new weapon that is well tested and tried- the two edged sword and the blood of Christ (the highest sacrifice) that has defeated carnality and the devil. Let no one deceive you – you are equipped to win (live above any sin) IF you truly desire to do with Christ who was tempted in all areas of human weakness but was found without sin.