"You will know them by their fruits"

Status
Not open for further replies.

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
“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? Even 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.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

How can you know others’ hearts? How can you know if what people apparently do they do sincerely? I totally understand when John exhorts us to examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith, whether we are bearing fruit of the Spirit – I know when I’m sincere (my conscience doesn't accuse me), but how can you know if others are?
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
I'll just add that the complexity increases once we acknowledge the following:

1) Common grace allows even false teachers to have some admirable qualities and to do some commendable works toward others

2) Progressive sanctification means that even genuine teachers will at times exhibit ungodly characteristics
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
In its context, this verse is referring to false teachers. False teachers inevitably produce false converts, and their lives show them to be such.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
In its context, this verse is referring to false teachers. False teachers inevitably produce false converts, and their lives show them to be such.

False teachers are easy to spot, but how do you distinguish a regenerate person from an unregenerate one? I cannot know for sure if any of my fellow Christians are truly saved. I cannot know their hearts. That's my point.
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
Quite simply, you cannot know another person's heart. For many of us, it's tough enough to know our OWN heart. We are told to examine ourselves to see if WE are in the faith. That's difficult enough.

We may be able to say, as did Calvin at the end of his life, "I have good reason to believe I had the root of the matter in me," but it is not within our ability to know another person's heart. We can look at their live and have doubts or reasons for confidence, but we can never know with certainty.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Quite simply, you cannot know another person's heart. For many of us, it's tough enough to know our OWN heart. We are told to examine ourselves to see if WE are in the faith. That's difficult enough.

We may be able to say, as did Calvin at the end of his life, "I have good reason to believe I had the root of the matter in me," but it is not within our ability to know another person's heart. We can look at their live and have doubts or reasons for confidence, but we can never know with certainty.

Oh, I should have not talked about knowing one's heart, but rather knowing one's conscience. We can know whether or not we ourselves are sincere, but we cannot know if others are. THAT was my point.
 

Theogenes

Puritan Board Junior
Consider that the bad fruit is false teaching since it's false prophets/teachers that Jesus is warning against
 

hrdiaz

Puritan Board Freshman
I have to disagree with the idea that we cannot make a definitive judgment about a particular individual because we don't "know their heart." I object to this for two reasons:

1. I don't know of any Scriptures that clearly teach this. One may point to the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, but the parable doesn't apply in every situation, as the obvious point of the parable is that the Tares and the Wheat look almost identical, and our Lord's Words in Matthew 7 teach us to discern the condition of the prophet by looking to his fruit. If he has bad fruit, he is a bad tree. The entire first epistle of John repeatedly tells us who is and who is not a Christian. Moreover, John doesn't limit this examination to self-examination but says "Test the spirits to see whether or not they are come from God." Is this a call to simply test the teaching? No, since he is telling us to test "the spirits," i.e. the individual persons who are bringing another teaching regarding the Person and Work of our Lord.

2. If it is the case that we cannot under any circumstances state that a person who is professing to have faith in Christ is unregenerate, then Peter and Paul and Jude were in error when they denounced men who were making a profession of faith and yet denying the faith in certain ways (whether in word or deed). Were they in error (i.e. sin) when they did this? Or was this an apostolic prerogative only? It isn't our job to poke around and see who is truly regenerate and who is not, but it is our job to state the truth:

If a man claims to be a Christian and believes that man is saved by faith and obedience to the Law, that man is under a curse, an eternally damning curse (cf. Gal 1:8-9). If a man professes to know God but denies Him by engaging in a profligate, licentious lifestyle, that person will not inherit the Kingdom of God (cf. 1 Cor 6:9-10).

What I'm saying is not something that is contrary to what we already practice when we evangelize Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, B'hai followers, and any other conceivable demonic system of religion. All these religions profess to know Christ, in one way or another, and yet they hold absolutely false doctrines about Him.

If stating that a person is lost and needs the Gospel can only be legitimately done if we "know their heart" then every evangelical outright would be wrong for supposing to know that those to whom one is attempting to present the Gospel are lost.

After all, we don't know the hearts of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do we?

-h.

---------- Post added at 04:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:35 PM ----------

* evangelical outREACH

typo :/
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top