“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There is a lot of confusion over what a Christian is supposed to do once they become a Christian. The obvious answer is that they are to do good but the question is why are they doing good.
Many Christians take doing good as a responsibility because of their salvation. The attitude is that because Jesus has done so much for us, the least we can do is do something in return. This trivializes the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross! There is something we can do to even begin to repay the forgiveness of our sins.
There are many people who are doing good who believe that they are saved. Jesus tells them that their good deeds don’t amount to anything though and it is not even proof of their salvation.
Good works and bearing fruit are very similar and in fact they can even take the same form. The difference is as Jesus says, a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Sinful people are capable of doing good things but they cannot bear good fruit.
Many Christians feel compelled to do good because of their love for God and their love for other people. They do good as a result of God’s command to love others. This is getting close to bearing fruit but still isn’t quite there.
The truth of the matter is that someone who is bearing good fruit can’t help but bear fruit. Just as a fruit tree can’t decide to not bear fruit one day, a genuinely saved Christian can’t help but bear good fruit. A person can choose whether or not they are going to do good but they can’t choose whether or not to bear fruit.
If a tree is cared for, watered, and fertilized, we expect it to bear fruit. The same is true of the Christian life. It is a natural process that we bear fruit because of the care that we have been shown. Our life has been transformed and we no longer choose whether or not to do good, we just simply bear fruit because it is who we are.