. . . filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
The Bible is interrelated. There’s a perfect harmony between all the books because it ultimately has author—God—and one goal—His glory. When we begin to see that, everything starts falling into place, having its proper part in God’s overarching message, especially expressed in the gospel.
My primary understanding of the gospel and God’s goal is found in John: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The essence of salvation is being grafted into Christ, being made a partaker of Him. That’s why John wrote: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12). Eternal life is not a gift by itself, it’s Jesus! When we have received Him, we have eternal life.
Not only is our salvation related to being in the Vine, but also our fruitfulness. In today’s verse Paul referred to “the fruit of righteousness.” That refers to any righteous thought, emotion, motive, word, and deed. Didn’t Jesus state: “Apart from me you can do nothing”? Does that not then refer to all righteousness? Jesus is not only our positional righteousness but also our practical righteousness. Righteousness flows from the Vine. Or as Paul stated: “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
Since we cannot do anything apart from Christ and since the fruit of righteousness comes solely through Him, there’s only one ultimate end: “To the glory and praise of God.” He deserves all the honor and praise for our righteousness, both positional and practical.
Therefore, both legalism and antinomianism are an attack on God’s glory. The first one is an attack because it seeks to produce righteousness by itself, apart from Christ. The second one is an attack because it rejects the necessity for Christ to shine forth through His branches, making them fruitful with righteousness, which is to God’s glory. In the end we’ll only be able to state: “Only in the LORD . . . are righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:24).
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The Devotionals Writer
Author of “An Unfathomable Gift!“