Two Kinds of Trees
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:3.
In the Bible, Israel and God’s people have often been likened to trees. Isaiah 61:3: “They might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Beautiful trees, to bring forth fruit and foliage, shelter and hope.
The people of Christ’s day made a great show of piety. They had a lot of leaves, much foliage. You remember the story of the fig tree, cursed because of all the foliage but no fruit. In Jesus’ day the Jews made a great show of piety, more than did those of earlier ages. But they were “more destitute of the sweet graces of the Spirit.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 215.
Sometimes we confuse what the fruit is all about on these trees. The statistician says that the fruit is x number of souls saved, that the fruit of the Christian is how many people he can count on his list that he has converted, or how many stars he will have in his crown. That’s not the fruit. The fruit that Jesus is really talking about here is the fruit of the Spirit.
The sweet graces of the Spirit–what are they? We are told in Galatians 5:22 and 23. “Love, joy.” You see a person who goes around gloomy–that means that he probably doesn’t have a fruit of the Spirit. One of them is missing. “Peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” The people of Christ’s day had many leaves, but few of the sweet graces.
As we approach the very end of time, we discover that God’s patience goes on and on and on until the time of Revelation 11:18. There we find what it is that finally ends things in this world, that finally results in the unfruitful trees’ being cut down. Evidently God’s patience is going to continue until man has come to the place of destroying himself. It will go to that point. You know, if your eyes are open, that we have almost reached that place. Therefore the rest of it must be fulfilled very soon.
In the meantime, Jesus “is not come to destroy men’s lives” (Luke 9:56). And when the disciples said, “Let’s call down fire,” Jesus said, “You don’t know your spirit. I came not to destroy, but to save.”
from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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