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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Fruit Is Change, #5
They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. (Mark 7:7—NIV)
I have not seen the desired fruit in the Catholic people either, because they are taught to interact with the Church and with the Virgin Mary rather than with the Lord Jesus. We do not bear fruit by abiding in the Virgin Mary but in Jesus. In spite of this, some marvelous saints have been part of the Catholic religion, as well as of the Lutheran belief.
A priest may pronounce absolution over you, but if you are not bearing the fruit of the image of Jesus Christ you shall be removed from the Vine. The priest has no authority to set aside the Words of Jesus Christ.
The Protestant philosophy of Dispensationalism is destructive of moral strength, of moral change, because it overemphasizes belief in Christ and virtually ignores the requirement that fruit be borne.
The basic parable of the Kingdom of God is that of the sower.
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times. (Mark 4:3-8—NIV)
If we do not understand the parable of the sower we will not understand the other parables. The parable of the sower explains to us the nature of the Kingdom of God. Let us see what we can learn from this parable.
The Seed is Christ Himself, the Word of God made flesh.
In some instances the ground on which the Seed was scattered was so hard no germination occurred.
In another situation the Seed actually germinated but bore no lasting fruit. Christ had begun to grow but the individual turned away from Christ when trouble came.
In yet another case the Seed germinated but the cares of life succeeded in preventing fruit.
What are we saying? We are saying the Kingdom of God is not a set of beliefs that bring us to Heaven. The Kingdom of God is a transformation of the individual as the Nature of Jesus Christ is formed in him or her.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18—NIV)
Transformation into the likeness of Jesus Christ is the very nature of the new covenant. When there is no transformation the new covenant is not operating.
In a fourth kind of ground, lasting fruit came forth. Christ was reaped in the individual. Some of the believers reaped more of the image of Christ than was true of others. There are greatest and least in the Kingdom of God.
To be continued.