The Anchor of Hope
An e-publication of Living Hope Presbyterian Church
July 2, 2014
Colossians 1:10 (Part 3)
so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
“Bearing fruit in every good work” is the next clause to be dealt with in this verse. Jesus said man bears fruit according to his root. A bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree brings out good fruit. We bear fruit according to what kind of tree are. We have seen that Paul has discerned that he is talking to true Christians here at Colossae (1.2). Thus, he is expecting that they will be bearing good fruit. Thus Paul again and again shows that antinomianism, the belief that justification need not produce righteousness in the believer, is completely foreign to him.
Good works are in opposition to actual sin (1Jn 3.7-8). Doing righteousness in any way is to perform a good work – whether it is directing our thoughts (inward) or commanding our body (outward). And good works should not just be kept in one area of our lives, as if we may isolate righteousness to certain aspects of living, but keeping our self enthroned in others. Every part of our being at every point in our lives in every way is to be under the control of God’s will in the production of good works. Admittedly, an impossible task, but one to which we are to constantly strive.
How may we more specifically apply this thought?
With Paul having already testified to the faith of the Colossians, he prays that they be fruitful of good works. Hence, as we already noted, we may conclude that good works follow faith and are the fruits of faith. Once we are justified, sanctification automatically follows. Sanctification is the fruit of justification. And good works are part of sanctification. The fruit does not give life to the tree. The life within the tree brings forth the fruit. Thus, faith cannot be without fruit. And fruit declares faith to be alive.
Next, obedience must not just be inward and habitual, but steadfast no matter what our circumstances might be. In this connection, Jeremiah wrote, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit” (17.8). For the glory of our God and for the good of our fellow believers, we must be strong. And in fact, God tells us through Jeremiah that is exactly what those who trust in God will be.
In a sense, the aim for all of us, whether we are living in prosperity or adversity, is to discover what is within us. Remember, the type of tree may be known by its fruit. Fruit is born by living out our life. God knew Abraham’s heart, but He wanted to see the fruit of it by Abraham’s willingness to offer his son as a sacrifice (Gen 22.13). And in the process, Abraham too saw the fruit of his own obedience and believers have an exemplary example of faithful, trusting obedience which really has no comparison in the Old Testament.
Do you tremble with reverent awe in prosperity? Or do you become lifted up with pride and lie securely in sin? Do you have a willing a joyful submission to His will in adversity? Or do you become utterly dejected and without hope? Likely, we all are inconsistent in our reactions to the circumstances around us. But what do we strive for? And are we convicted by the Spirit for our sinful reactions?