Christians are to be a people that bear fruit for God. He who does not bear it is not of God; he or she has not been transformed by Him. Believers are like a seed planted, watered and fertilized to grow into a tree that bears fruit. Here is the complete sense of a Christian: He or she does not stop bearing fruit. For God does not intend to leave them that they should perish. Instead, He who raised them up to bear fruit in the first place will make sure they bear more fruit for Him. The fruit they bear are the qualities that represent Him. Those qualities mean victory over everything that does not represent God. They that bear fruit for Him will be victorious. So Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2).
The first and foremost thing God looks for in us is the bearing of fruit for all the hard work He put in for us. Yes, the hard work, since in His forbearance He called us and chose to sanctify us. He has waited on us until we accepted the transformation He offered. He kept calling, feeding and protecting us by the power of His word. And when we obeyed Him, He knew we would bear fruit for Him. It is only natural that if we obey Him we bear fruit. For the work He has done to turn us into a people that bear fruit does not have failure. So, when Jesus speaks of every branch that bears fruit, it is understood that He is speaking of those who obeyed Him. With such people there lies a great effect. They bear much more fruit, since God has an opportunity to prune them. This then has an advantage to His kingdom as well as to them. They shine His wisdom in sacrificing His Son for redeeming mankind.
Those who do not bear fruit did not obey God. And no one prunes a fruitless tree. God has sent them to His Son, i.e. He called them, but they did not obey; He did not choose them for sanctification by Christ’s blood. Such people He removes, since that which comes naturally by transformation is not in them. He is the one who enables the believing to bear fruit. The fruit we bear for Him through obedience is of the Spirit. By believing His word we journeyed to the point where we inevitably bear it in the Spirit He gives. He longs it from us. We read of it in the writings of Paul. Because of it, He has every opportunity to prune us so that we bear much more of it. In other words, from love to more love, joy to more joy, etc that we become a cause for glorifying Him and for many more to believe in Him. This is an advantage we bring to His kingdom by bearing much fruit.
Then, there is an advantage to us. He blesses us. To bear much fruit for Him is the only principle to be blessed. Consider the fruit of the Spirit that God leads us to bear. It alone makes us His complete children. And it is further mentioned that there is no law against it. In other words, everything we do in it is legal, lawful and righteous. God longs we become complete to be richly blessed so that we may have the complete knowledge and power to glorify Him. For this reason, He takes care of our needs. Unless we come to the point of allowing God to prune us, He cannot bless us with the things He planned to give us; they include the things we desire. And the Spirit says, “Just as it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED’” (Rom. 9:33).
Believing in Jesus and disappointment do not match, because He fills us with hope that there is no unbelief in us. He guarantees from the Word the actions He is about to or willing to take on our behalf. When He said we are brought forth by God to be pruned, we ought to believe. There is no loss in it at all. For when He prunes us He takes away that which is unnecessary and causing hindrance for our greater growth. Sometimes we may not fully understand it. But if we believe He works righteously toward us, the outcome is joy. Consider the likes of Abraham, Job, Peter and Paul. The more God pruned them the more joy their realized. He took away their weaknesses and imprudence and made them complete. They grew in wisdom and understood the point in serving Him. So Paul said, “But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” (Gal. 2:14).
As Paul understood the point in serving God, he had the courage to rebuke his compatriot and one who came before him, Peter. At the same time, God also pruned Peter for his sake and the sake of those around him. Peter too realized the point in serving Him. At times God prunes us by correction and it is painful. He does it directly, through circumstances or through His servants. It is worth it. It leads us to see the fulfillment of His will and promises. It gives us satisfaction in life. Once we have obeyed God we must accept and realize that we come under His correction system. It is for our well being. Look at Peter. Though he was an apostle and when he was not walking straight in the truth of the gospel, God corrected him. He did so, because He desired to keep his sanctification. We have all been there or perhaps, will be. There is no way the gospel is manifested in us, if God does not prune us. Yet, do not go on looking for moments that He should correct you. He is God full of wisdom and power. He corrects you in His will and time that you should be an immense asset to His kingdom. It is because you obeyed Him to accept the transformation He offered and have surrendered all your rights to Him. He makes you a light to many and will indeed bless you. The following is the privy to it. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3).
You obeyed His voice. You were born again through transformation to see the kingdom of God. His kingdom denotes His power. It is the only way for you to be a light to many. In it there is everything pertaining to His glory and your joy. For this reason, He prunes you. Being born again means being transformed by God into an instrument of His choice besides being saved. The magnificence of it is you delight in it. He will make sure you rejoice in it. He will bring you to the understanding of the many possibilities He has to lead you into His will. So, He said, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:4). You will be gifted. But if there are weaknesses and hindrances in you that restrict your growth in Christ, i.e. bearing fruit, He will not supply you His gift. Many are they that do not realize this. One does not simply obtain a gift, because he or she does Christian works or attend the church; they obtain it through God’s pruning work upon them. His gift to you implies that His Spirit is deliberately dwelling in you to fulfill His purpose. And arriving at this knowledge is utterly important, because it denies you the opportunity to mock God.
Christians can bear fruit for God if they were truly born again. There is no alternative for this. And bearing the fruit is the basis to keep the gift of the Spirit. As God prunes us to bear much fruit, the Spirit with His gift brings forth immeasurable effect from us. It may not always be visible to our naked eye, but God is using it for His purpose. The fruit we bear will be made to manifest through the gift. Our blessings will be untold, and the greatest of them is this: “And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless” (Rev. 14:5). If one does not consider this as the greatest blessing, I wouldn’t know what would be. For because of it God wills to bless us with many things. How impossible it is for men who have been captivated by sin to be without lie and blame! The worries of the world encompass them. But if God is pruning us, we have no reason to worry. He will lead us safely into His eternal dwellings.
So, continue to rejoice at His pruning. You will bear fruit, even much more fruit for Him; the gift of the Spirit in you vouches for it. Then, whatever you say or do will be truth and righteousness. Men cannot escape the Light in you. Whether or not they accept Him, you will convince them of sin, righteousness and justice. For the Spirit controls His gift in you; many will have an opportunity turn to Him. Still, God will continue to prune you that your fruit may increase and the gift of the Spirit excels in you. So, Jesus said, “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away” (Luke 19:26).