"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;"
Good Fruit Includes and Involves Holy Affections
That word of Christ's 'Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit', supplies further confirmatin of what we have pointed out above. In a very real sense it is the saints' fruit: 'ye bear'. Though the fruit indeed comes by divine energizing, notwithstanding it is by their own activity. But observe too and admire the strict accuracy of Scripture.
It does not state 'that ye produce much fruit', for God is both the original and efficient Cause of the fruit. Mark the beautiful harmony of the two verses: 'Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work'; 'Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.' By doing so you exhibit the power and reality of His transforming grace, display the lineaments of His image, reflect the beauty of His holiness. 'Much fruit' involves and includes the exercise of all holy affections: not merely some acts of holiness, but the putting forth of every grace in all the variety of their actings, not only inwardly but outwardly as well, labouring to abound in them, and this not spasmodically and only for a season, but steadfastly. As long as we are left on earth, we are to 'bring forth fruit with patience' (Luke 8:15), persevering in it.
'Being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God' (Col. 1:10). Observe that those two things are not separated by a semicolon but are linked together by and 'and', the latter being closely connected with and dependent upon the former. 'Increasing in the knowledge of God' is the reward of 'walking worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work.' Or, if some of our readers prefer the expression, it is the effect of it, though they should not object to the former when Scripture itself declares that 'in keeping of them [the divine statues] there is great reward' (Psa. 19:11) a considerable part of which consists in a growing acquaintance with and a deeper delight in the Lord. Our Saviour said, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life' (John 8:12). What does it mean to follow Christ but to yield to His authority, practice His precepts, and keep His example before us? The one who does so will not be the loser but the gainer. He will be delivered from the power and misery of sin, and made the recipient of spiritual wisdom, discernment, holiness, and happiness: in a word, he shall enjoy the light of God's countenance. So the consequence of a sincere endeavour to please the Lord and glorify Him by bearing much fruit will be an increase in our experimental knowledge of God.