Scriptural Gem for July 2012

In Matthew 7:15-20 we read: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

When we read this passage in its wider context it is clear that Jesus is comparing that which is genuine to that which is false. Hence the context sheds light on false prophets, false disciples and false teaching. Let us turn our attention today to the meaning of the words 'good' fruit and 'bad'/'evil' fruit. Generally when we read this passage we immediately think of 'good' fruit as good deeds and 'evil/bad' fruit as bad deeds. However, it is in the original Greek that we find a much deeper meaning. The word used for 'good' fruit is the word 'Kalos'. More than just 'good', this word actually means 'that which is genuine, approved, pure in nature, authentic'. Opposed to this is the 'bad/evil' fruit for which the word 'Poneros' is used. This word means 'full of toilsome labour'. So actually, Jesus is talking about fruit which is genuine compared to fruit which is false - full of toilsome labour...This is not only consistent with the context, but also clearly tells us that 'fruit' that comes from much toilsome labour is useless, but fruit that naturally comes from within, without much toilsome labour, is genuine/authentic and therefore 'good'. The way we tell the fruit apart, is thus by checking which is 'real' and which is 'false'.  

How about the Christian 'fruit' in our own lives friends? Is our fruit genuine/authentic/proceeding from a heart filled with the indwelling Spirit of Christ, or is our fruit full of toilsome labour...false, worthless. Fruit produced by much toilsome labour is actually quite obvious, as is fruit which just comes naturally from the heart.

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