LISTEN: Fruitful or Faithless? Part 7 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #19 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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This podcast is designed to explain what it means to be saved from sin and from the punishment of sin through Jesus Christ. This podcast is primarily for non-believers and some new believers and it will help you understand what it means to be saved from hell and have a home in Heaven as well as the blessings of the abundant Christian life.

God made salvation simple. However, down through the years many people, including some preachers and other Christians, have made the matter of salvation complicated and confusing. I know from my own experience that many people would get saved if someone would sit down and share with them straightforwardly from the Bible what it really means to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. That is what I intend to do with this podcast.

Let’s start out with the Word of God. The Bible says in Romans 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:

The theme of Romans is expressed in the phrase, “a righteousness from God is revealed.” The subjective genitive identifies this as a righteousness that God provides for people on the basis of and in response to faith in the gospel. Such a righteousness is totally unachievable by human efforts. This righteousness is not God’s personal attribute, however, since it comes “from God,” it is consistent with His nature and standard. A.T. Robertson happily calls it “a God kind of righteousness.” In response to faith this righteousness is imputed by God in justification and imparted progressively in regeneration and sanctification, culminating in glorification when standing and state become identical. “Righteousness” and “justify,” though seemingly unrelated in English, are related in Greek. Paul used the noun “righteousness” many times in his epistles, including 28 times in Romans. And Paul used the Greek verb “justify” 15 times in Romans. To justify a person is to declare him forensically (legally) righteous. Paul’s closing words, “The righteous will live by faith,” are a quotation from Habakkuk 2:4, also quoted in Galatians 3:11 and Hebrews 10:38. As a result of faith in Christ, a person is declared “righteous” and is given eternal life. What a marvelous work of God!

Today’s quote is from Oswald Chambers. He said: “If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people from getting to reality.”

Our topic today is titled “Fruitful or Faithless? (Part 7)” from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

The two things involved in making our lives more fruitful are pruning and abiding. On our last broadcast we talked about pruning. Today, we are going to talk about abiding.

What about the branches that are bearing more fruit? The Father is not finished or satisfied with them. He longs that they bear much fruit, and the path to that goal is abiding or remaining in Christ.

John 15:4-8 says: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

What does it mean to abide in Christ? In simplest terms, it means to keep His commandments. Such a definition makes sense, for the more we obey Him the more we remain in Him. When we disobey, we remove rather than remain. The one who keeps God’s Word will bear much fruit simply because he is doing God’s will as he comes to learn it from the Word.

Abiding brings another benefit: answered prayer. Again this makes sense, for the one who keeps God’s Word knows how best to pray in the will of God; and, of course, such prayers are answered. Abiding, asking and receiving, and bearing much fruit prove that we are His disciples. As far as this passage is concerned, disciples are those who have an intimate relationship and mature experience with the Lord in whom they abide. This discipleship is far more than simply being willing to do God’s will; it is doing it and continuing to do it.

Progression marks this passage — no fruit, fruit, more fruit, much fruit. But progression has its opposite: retrogression. Obviously, believers can retrogress from bearing fruit. Very fruitful believers might retrogress to bearing less fruit, and presumably they may even slide back to a fruitless condition for some period of time. And this without losing their salvation or being told that they never had it in the first place. Disobedience to God’s commandments would certainly result in retreat just as obedience brings advance. John 15:6 contains a strong warning against disobedience (not abiding in Christ) and the barrenness that results. Such believers lose further opportunities to bear fruit. Their branch withers, and if the barrenness continues unchanged, then at the judgment seat of Christ they will not receive rewards. (In my opinion the last part of verse 6 refers to that coming judgment.) At what point in life further opportunities are lost to the disobedient believer the Lord does not say, but clearly at some point it can happen.

Barrenness and fruitfulness may both be a believer’s experience. And fruit, the Lord said on another occasion, is produced in varying amounts: thirty-, sixty-, or one hundredfold. If the character traits of 2 Peter 1:5-7 are present, then we will not be unfruitful. If they are absent, then we are unfruitful.

And could not that condition continue for some time? Remember, even the lordship/discipleship/mastery view acknowledges that it can continue for “a moment.” If some spiritual fruits are present and some absent, then we can indeed be more fruitful at one time and less fruitful at another. Notice too, according to 2 Peter 1:5, that we supply these traits in our faith. In other words, faith is already assumed to be present; then we supply these additional characteristics. Barrenness does not have to be our experience; fruitfulness, by the grace of God, can and will be. Every Christian will bear fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow.

We will continue our discussion of this topic in our next broadcast / podcast.

Let’s Pray —

As we close today, let me leave you with these words from Hebrews 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation…” I encourage you to not neglect the salvation and grace offered by God. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve upon Himself. Romans 5:8 says that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, please believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. It’s just that simple.

Until next time, my friend, thank God for His simple, great salvation. God bless you!

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.