Fruitful or Faithless? Part 5 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #17)

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 2:3-6: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

As in modern times, some in the Ephesian church were prepared to question the validity of a prayer for the salvation of all men. Thus Paul defended his instructions by pointing out that such a prayer is good, and pleases God our Savior. Literally, the Greek says that such a prayer is “acceptable before” (in the presence of) God. Many prayers are unacceptable to God, but not this one.

The reason this prayer is acceptable to God is that it is a prayer “according to His will.” God, who is by nature a Savior, wants all men to be saved. Paul repeated the words “everyone” and “all men.” The same Greek word “all” is used in each case, referring all three times to the same group. God desires that no one perish, that the entire human race come to know the truth through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. (Of course not all do come to salvation; Paul was not teaching universalism.)

We will continue looking at this passage in our next broadcast.

Today’s quote is from Jonathan Edwards. He said: “If there be ground for you to trust in your own righteousness, then, all that Christ did to purchase salvation, and all that God did to prepare the way for it is in vain.”

Our topic today is titled “Fruitful or Faithless? (Part 5)” from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

This subtopic is titled, WHAT ARE BIBLICAL FRUITS?

Back to the biblical teaching on fruit. What is fruit? Actually the question ought to be phrased in the plural: What are fruits that a Christian can bear? The New Testament gives several answers to the question.

First, a developing Christian character is fruit. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms in Galatians 5:22–23, and Peter urges the development of seven accompaniments to faith in order that we might be fruitful. Two of these terms are common to both lists: love and self-control. The others are joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, virtue, knowledge, endurance, piety, and brotherly love. To show these character traits is to bear fruit in one’s life.

Second, right character will result in right conduct, and as we live a life of good works we produce fruit. This goes hand in hand with increasing in the knowledge of God, for as we learn what pleases Him, our fruitful works become more and more conformed to that knowledge. When Paul expressed how torn he was between the two possibilities of either dying and being with Christ or living on in this life, he said that living on would mean fruitful labor or work. This phrase could mean that (1) his work itself was fruit, or (2) fruit would result from his work. In either case, his life and work were fruit. So may ours be.

Third, those who come to Christ through our witness are fruit. Paul longed to go to Rome to have some fruit from his ministry there, and he characterized the conversion of the household of Stephanas as the firstfruits of Achaia.

Fourth, we may also bear fruit with our lips by giving praise to God and thankfully confessing His name. In other words, our lips bear fruit when we offer thankful acknowledgment to the name of God. And this is something we should do continually.

Fifth, we bear fruit when we give money. Paul designated the collection of money for the poorer saints in Jerusalem as fruit. Also, when he thanked the Philippians for their financial support of his ministry, he said that their act of giving brought fruit to their account.

To sum up, fruit includes: (1) a Christlike character, (2) a life characterized by good works, (3) a faithful witness, (4) a pair of lips that praise God, and (5) a generous giving of one’s money.

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