Psalm 1:3 – Fruit: The Evidence of Life – Part 2 –

In our last entry on Psalm 1:3 we discovered how the Psalmist employs the imagery of a tree, soil, and streams of water as a metaphor for grace. Grace is the reason why we were planted into good soil, grace is the reason why our roots receive living water and not death, grace is the reason why we can truly say we are “blessed” (v. 1).

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season…” (Psalm 1:3, ESV).

-We are expected to yield fruit for the Lord.

Are the righteous (Christians, “the blessed”) expected to just sit there and suck up the nutrients from the streams of living water? Is that all they are for? The parable of our Lord in Luke 13:6-9 will answer this for us,

And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any.Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground? And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

The natural outcome expected from being grounded on the law of the Lord, on meditating on it day and night, on “delighting” in His law, is fruit. Theology that is not accompanied by fruit is illogical, contradictory, and damning; it is in itself incorrect and incomplete theology. Conversely, fruit without theology is illogical, contradictory, and damning, because it does not produce fruit according to the law of the Lord (for it is not grounded on it), but according to their own counsel, which, as we saw in verse 1 of Psalm 1, and as we will see in verses 4-6, leads only to the wrath of the Almighty God of Scripture. We cannot divorce theology from fruit as much as we can divorce fruit from theology. They go hand in hand. Their relationship is an unbreakable one. Any attempts to despise theology for the sake of fruit and viceversa do not honor the Lord who commands us to be grounded in the Word so that we may bear “fruit in its season.”

What Luke 13 tells us is that because it was grace that planted us in His law the logical outcome must be fruit yielded without delay and without failure “in its season.” Notice that verse 3 talks about the fruit before it does the leaves. This is extremely important because we were saved to yield fruit.

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NASB).

There is a purpose to this grace bestowed on us sinners. It is not simply to just enjoy, but to do; not in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Fruit is the evidence of true life within.

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?” (James 2:14-20, NASB). 

Again, James expands on the parable our Lord used in Luke 13 to show that true faith is accompanied by works. You cannot have faith without works, and you cannot have true God-pleasing works without true faith given to you by Him (Ephesians 2:8). In order to know what true faith is and what true works that accompany or evidence true life are, we must be grounded on the law of the Lord, as we have seen in Psalm 1:2.

Many will at this point heartily agree with me and say “See? We don’t need to ‘study’ God’s Word! We need to bear fruit not study!” As we have clearly seen in our previous posts, we cannot attain that blessedness of God through Christ (salvation and all that it entails) without having understood that through the study of His Word. The only other route to take would be human counsel (rationalization, emotionalism, empiricism, or fideism (sort of like “blind faith”). And once more, that will only lead to death.

The prevalent thought in the Church today is that the mind and the spirit must be separated; they cannot share in a 100/100% relationship much like Jesus was 100% percent human and 100% God. This is not right. This is not what Psalm 1 has taught us this far. We must flee from this way of thinking.

For further study on this relationship between the mind and the spirit, I highly recommend John Piper’s book “Think.”

So how are we to produce fruit? The Apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:8-11 (NASB),

“….keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

In short: let each use his gift given by God to [1] serve one another because [2] we are stewards of the “manifold grace of God,” by “the strength which God supplies” (found in being grounded in His law), so that [3] “in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ [who, as we saw, is our source of life], to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Next time we will look at the concept of “vitality” and “prosperity” found in this part of Psalm 1:3,

“….and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Stay tuned!

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