Saturday, October 3, 2009

Prayer for a Worthy Walk, XXII of ?

Prayer for a Worthy Walk

Colossians 1:9-10

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"

Saints of God to Be Fruitful in Good Works

Saints are ‘trees of righteousness’ (Isa. 61:3), the planting of the Lord, and their graces and good works are their fruit. There is a tendency in the minds of some to ascribe all glory to the heavenly Husbandman and virtually reduce the Christian to an automaton. We must distinguish between the fruit-Procuder and the fruit-bearer. We are first made trees of the Lord, and then we receive grace from Him, and then by grace we ourselves really do bring forth fruit. We must indeed thankfully own the truth of our Lord’s words ‘From me is thy fruit found’ (Hos. 14:8). But while freely acknowledging that all is of His ordination and gracious enablement, we must not overlook the fact that even here God Himself terms it ‘thy fruit’. Because it is of His origination, that does not alter the fact that it is also of our cooperation. While there may be many who make far too much of man, there are others who make too little of him – less than Scripture does – repudiating his moral agency. We must be careful lest we press too far the figure of the ‘branch’: the branch of the tree has neither rationality, spirituality, nor responsibility; the Christian has all three. God does not produce the fruit independently of us. We are more than pipes through which His energy flows.

The very fact that Paul here prays that the saints might be ‘fruitful’ clearly implies two things: they could not be fruitful without God’s enabling; it was their privilege and duty to be so. We mock God unless we ourselves diligently strive after those spiritual enlargements for which we supplicate Him. We dishonour Him if we suppose we can attain to them in our own strength. When God has renewed a person, He does not henceforth treat him as though he were merely a mechanical entity; rather He communicates to him a gracious willingness to act and stirs him into action; then the saint actually performs the good works. In fruit-bearing we are not passive but active. It is not fruit tied on to us but fruit growing out of us which manifests that we have been grafted into Christ. If the believer’s personal and practical holiness were not the outflowing of his renewed heart, then it would be no evidence (as it is) that spiritual life has been imparted to his soul. Perhaps an evidence that, in one sense, the fruits and good works which I bear are mine, is that I am dissatisfied with and grieve over them. I regret that my love is fickle, my zeal unstable, my best performances defective; if they were God’s fruits and works, independent of me, they would be perfect.

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