ROOT AND FRUITS

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What a difference a letter makes. With a careful look into the book of Romans you will see something quite amazing. In the first five or so chapters Paul talks of “sins” we commit. Midway through the fifth chapter through the eighth chapter the emphasis moves to “sin”. While you may be thinking, “what is he talking about?” Well, sins plural are the things we do, you know, the acts or deeds. If you think of a tree that produced fruit maybe that will help. The tree (sin) is the root cause of the fruit (sins). Without the tree or root there could be no sins. Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good.”

Watchman Nee once used an illustration to explain this concept that I think is immensely helpful. He said, [1]“Suppose the government of your country should wish to deal drastically with the question of strong drink and should decide that the whole country was to go “dry,” how could the decision be carried into effect? How could we help? If we were to search every shop and house throughout the land and smash all the bottles of wine, beer or brandy we came across, would that meet the case? Surely not. We might thereby rid the land of every drop of alcoholic liquor it contains, but behind those bottles of strong drink are the factories that produce them, and if we only deal with the bottles and leave the factories untouched, production will still continue and there is no permanent solution of the problem. No the drink-producing factories, the breweries and distilleries throughout the land, must be closed down if the drink question is ever to be effectively and permanently settled.”

Shutting down the sin factory is what Jesus Christ dying on the Cross is all about. He not only shed his blood to wash away our sins but he also gave his body to close down the sin factory. In Romans six we read, “All of us that have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death.” The way God took care of the sin producer in us is he included us in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We are now free to walk in newness of life. We are brought from darkness to light and from death to life. We are no longer a slave to “sin”. We no longer have to obey the sin producer because he is no longer our boss.

The Bible tells us “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The wage of sin is paid through Jesus’ death, and our death, on the cross. We are no longer held in bondage to sin and death because our fine has been paid in full.

I can hear the objections now. If we don’t have to sin and the sin producer has been dealt with then why do we still sin? I wondered when you would get to that. Just because sin is no longer our boss doesn’t mean we don’t listen to him sometimes and get lead astray. What I am saying is we are free not to sin but it doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t. I’ve heard it put like this before. Just as a lost man does what we call good things from time to time; a saved man can do bad things from time to time. What I’m talking about is our core being, our true identity. Before Christ we are a sinner at root and to produce sins is our natural state. After receiving Christ we are a new creature and we begin to produce new fruit. The Bible describes us as righteous, holy, blameless, whole, sanctified and etc. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the true vine.” He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit…” I want you to notice he called himself the “True Vine” implying there is a false one. The point is we are a branch no matter what, and we are always attached to a vine that is producing something in and through our lives. Before we are saved the sin producer within produced sins in our lives, but now since receiving Christ he is producing the fruit of the Spirit through us. The tree has been made good!

Written by Louie

[1] Taken from Watchman Nee “The Normal Christian Life”

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