Why the Christian Lacks Fruit
There are two main reasons why we may not be bringing forth the fruit we should. It may be because of ignorance, because we may never have been taught the meaning of the work of Christ for our present lives.
There are five possible “ignorances” in this area.
- First, the Christian may have been taught how to be justified but never taught that present meaning of the work of Christ for him.
- Second, he may have been taught to become a Christian through the instrumentality of faith, but then he may have been left, as though from that point on the Christian life has to be lived in his own strength.
- Third, he may have been taught the opposite. That is, that having accepted Christ, in some antinomian way it does not now matter how he lives.
- Fourth, he may have been taught some kind of second blessing, which would make him perfect in this life when he receives it. This the Bible does not teach. And therefore he just waits hopelessly, or tries to act upon that which is not.
- Fifth, he may never have been taught that there is reality of faith to be acted on consciously after justification. This last point is the point of ignorance of many who stand in the orthodox and historic stream of the Reformation. – 84
Justification and Sanctification
In justification the basis is the finished work of Jesus Christ; in sanctification it is the finished work of Christ. In justification we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot save ourselves. In sanctification we must, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength, or in our goodness.
In justification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. In sanctification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. It is exactly the same thing. There is one difference between the practice of justification and sanctification. As justification deals with our guilt, and sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians, justification is once for all, and the Christian life is moment by moment. There is a difference in that one deals with the guilt of my sin, and the other deals with the power of sin in my life. – 85
So we must believe God’s promises at this one moment in which we are. Consequently, in believing God’s promise, we apply them – the present meaning of the work of Christ for the Christian – for and in this one moment. If you only can that, everything changes. As we believe God for this moment, the Holy Spirit is not quenched. And through his agency, the risen and glorified Christ, as the bridegroom of the bride, the vine, brings forth his fruit through us, at this moment. This is the practice of active passivity. And it is the only way anybody can live; there is no other way to live but moment by moment. (emphasis mine) – 86
Living by Faith
The reality of living by faith as though we were already dead, of living by faith in open communion with God, and then stepped back into the external world as though we are already raised from the dead, this is not once for all, it is a matter of moment-by-moment faith, and living moment by moment. This morning’s faith will never do for this noon. The faith of this noon will never do for supper time. The faith of supper time will never do for the next morning. Thank God for the reality for which we were created, a moment-by-moment communication with God himself. – 87
“Thank God for the reality for which we were created, a moment-by-moment communication with God himself.”
And the purpose of our creation, in which all our subsidiary purposes fit, is to be in a personal relationship to God, in communion with him, in love, by choice, the creature before the Creator. – 88
Eve doubted God, and I as a child of God am now to be exactly the opposite: I am to believe him. Eve doubted, and mankind in revolt doubts God. To believe him, not just when I accept Christ as Savior, but every moment, one moment at a time: this is the Christian life, and this is true spirituality. (emphasis mine) – 89
Now the question arises, whether we could expect to have perfection, either totally or even for this one moment. And I would suggest that such an expression simply gets caught in a swamp, in which we have endless discussions concerning some abstract idea of complete victory, even in this “one moment.” The phrase that often is used is that we have freedom from “all known sin.” But I feel that as we consider first the Word of God and then human experience, we must understand that there is a problem in the word “known,” and also a problem in the word “conscious,” if we talk of “conscious” sin. The problem in using both or either of these words is the fact that since the fall man has habitually fooled himself. We fool ourselves deep inside our subconscious and unconscious nature. – 95
“When my conscience under the Holy Spirit makes me aware of a specific sin I should at once call that sin sin and bring it consciously under the blood of Christ.”
When my conscience under the Holy Spirit makes me aware of a specific sin I should at once call that sin sin and bring it consciously under the blood of Christ. Now it is covered and it is not honoring to the finished work of Jesus Christ to worry about it, as far as my relationship to God is concerned. Indeed, to worry about it is to do spite to the infinite value of the death of the Son of God. My fellowship with God is restored. – 104
Reality is not meant to be only creedal, though the creeds are important. Reality is to be experienced, and experienced on the basis of a restored relationship with God through that finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. – 105
Ignorance is in relationship to content; it is not just a spirit of ignorance. In verse 21 it speaks of “the truth in Jesus.” Truth is content, truth has something to do with reason. Truth has something to do with the rational creature that God has made us. The dilemma here in the internal world is not just some sort of grey fog, it is in relationship to content. – 108
If men act upon the teaching of the Word of God, and as proportionately men live according to the teaching and commands of the Bible, so they have in practice a sufficient psychological base. I will find you a man dealing with psychological problems on the basis of the teaching of the Word of God, even if he never heard the word psychology, or does not know what it means. – 145