For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6


Matthew 12:33-37

   33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. 36 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

   V.33. There are two things that immediately catches ones attention, facing this verse.
One of the questions is an old one: Is Christ the one who bears fruit in and by the believer, or is it the believer who bears fruit in and by Christ?
It may sound and seem as hair-splitting, - and especially in our time, where it does not mean so much what the Word of God really say, and we are Christians in “our own way”. But then you have not headed the word of Paul: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Cor. 5:6). In certain context this is really happening.
   The first one will lead to that a human sees the needs to be dependent on living close to/in Jesus - because only to such a degree
His form is shaped in me, I will bear fruit.
   The other leads to thinking that when we now are Christians and Jesus has told us to bear fruit – ergo- let us do it! The pressure is then on
us, in spite of all the pious assurances of being dependant of Jesus – the Spirit etc., and the result is unfortunately a lot of deeds, and activity that He has never asked us to do. And also He has never “had the opportunity” to take part in! And then we stand there before Him with all this, and ask Him to “bear fruit” for His kingdom, coming from our own fabrications. But the truth is that this is already fruit! – But from what tree?

   We will try to stop here and listen to what Jesus says about this – but first: another thing that emerges for oneself by reading from this verse, is the consistently the Word show in the division between the old and the new man – the evil and the good – which ends in the very truth, of what us humans are concerned: “You must be born again.” (John 3:3-7).
   It is exactly what Jesus points to: “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good?” (v.34) – The mouth speaks of what the heart is filled off. And how can earthly things produce heavenly fruit? – It does not matter how much you strain yourself, you will not yield anything else than your nature. How can it flow anything from me, which in reality belongs to heaven, if not “the heaven is in my heart?”
   That is what Jesus points to when He says: “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good,” etc. In other words do not try to change the
tree! What is earthly can never be heavenly. It has to spring up something new – a new tree needs to be planted, which is different from the first one, and therefore bears another fruit.
   What so often confuses a Christian – one who is “walking in truth” (2 John 4), is that we also bear “the old tree,” with us as long as we are here on earth, which also bears
its fruit. “Let it be so,” Jesus says, “ye understand that these things is of the old, and not the new tree!”
   Where a human lives in the knowledge of truth in the sight of God’s, there He will make sure that His fruit will spring forth, in the middle of this misery. The thing that belongs to “the old tree” is bygones by Him and won. You must look at it as conquered enemies, which you will be completely free from one day, so that you will not even see them, - but it is one thing you must realize, - in Jesus you are
already completely free from them.
   But a warning to everyone of us is: do not begin to cooperate with the enemy! It is only one thing that he is after: Your life!

   “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive” (John 7:38-39a). I assume you see of whom it flows rivers of living water?

   “I am the vine, you are the branches” Jesus says (John 15:5a).
“If we shall bear fruit, we have to have contact with the root,” it often says, and it is true, but it does not mean that Jesus is only the root, - it is the thought that often comes along, and so easy gets a hold of us, that we live a Christian life on our own, but yet in contact with the root! – No, He is the whole vine, He says – “I am the vine!” – The root, the trunk and the branches! So entirely has the believer become one with Jesus. Then he bears fruit – the fruit that is defined by the juice (life) of the vine.
   If you plant a tree of a certain sort of pear, then you will expect to get exactly that kind of fruit when the fruit is ripe, and not for example apples. It is what Jesus says: “Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matthew 7:16).

   Let this question sink in: Is there any good in a believer without Christ in him?
   You who think about standing in front of God with any kind of goodness – evidently or in secret – listen to Jesus word: “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” (v.36).

Let this be serious for you – IT IS THIS WAY! – And repent! Those who have as much as an iota to be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is lost. What do you want to pay with? Your goodness? Which is stained with so many futile words? A white shirt which has just a tiny little spot cannot be called completely clean. This is the way God is when He judges! He is three times the holy God, who holds every man accountable, and He cannot call what is black for white – and you are lost.
   In His
saving righteousness, He "caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Is. 53:6). Take your refuge in that alone. It is only one thing that makes us white before God: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;” -- "Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" “I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple;” (Rev. 7:9 and 13-15a).
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,” the Word is testified about in (Jude 1:24).

   It is the vine that bears fruit! Therefore Jesus has a strong admonition for us: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4a). Then we have a reason to remind Jesus word at the last supper: “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29).
   Then we shall completely share His joy, over His works here on earth.

   It is called in a song: “Jesus counts in my place,” yes, from A to Z.


Holy Bible, New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart