I have been away from the red letters for a while now so it is time to get back to them. Let’s look at Matthew 7. In that chapter Jesus talks about heavenly things including doing the will of God. Jesus uses several parables and other stories to relay his message about the heavenly kingdom and who and how we are to get there. One of these messages is about a tree and it’s fruits.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.You will know them by their fruits.Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;
Here is what I hear Jesus saying in these words and how it relates to us today. There are many people who call themselves Christians but are really more of this world than dedicated to Jesus’ teachings.The way Jesus (and us) will know the difference is how they act. In today’s terms they talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk. Or maybe the old saying “Actions speak louder than words” is more relevant for you. If they only mouth the words and don’t put them into action (don’t bear fruit) then when judgment day comes Jesus will say “I never knew you”.
Some say the reference of being thrown in the fire is about hell. I’m not sure I am ready to accept that. Maybe it just means they will not be part of the harvest. In Jesus’ time they burned the chaff and stalks to clear the fields after harvest. When I read these words I think of the Barna study I posted about a while ago. In that study most people could not tell a Christian from a non-Christian by the way they live their lives. In other words they were not bearing the fruit of being a follower of Jesus Christ.
This is one of many places where Jesus confirms what his brother James said in his epistle and that is faith without works is a dead faith and may very well not get you past the gates. Christianity is not a sit back and wait religion.