When John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared on earth, God’s people had been under the law of Moses for fifteen hundred years. Little wonder John and his Master looked for fruit among them.
When the hypocritical religious leaders came to join John’s growing audience and asked to be baptized, John called them a “generation of vipers” and bade them “bring forth… fruits meet for repentance” (Matt. 3:7,8). True repentance, with fruit to prove it, was the basic requirement of the kingdom John proclaimed. This is evident from his declaration:
“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matt. 3:10).
Our Lord appeared, proclaiming the same message as John, and also sought for fruit among His people (Matt. 7: 16-20; 21:33-43). We know, however, that John the Baptist was beheaded and Christ crucified. The fruit produced under the Law was meager indeed. Even after the resurrection of Christ the majority of His people refused to repent and failed to bring forth the required fruit.
But what the Law requires grace provides. It was at this time that God raised up the Apostle Paul, whose “preaching of the cross” showed that Christ had not died an untimely death, but in infinite love had come into the world to die for sinners so that they might be saved by grace, through faith (Eph. 2:8,9). Paul’s message was called “the gospel [good news] of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), and where the Law had failed to bring forth fruit, grace brought it forth abundantly.
God’s grace in Christ, when accepted in true faith, always brings forth good fruit. Thus Paul wrote to the Colossians that his good news was going forth into all the world, adding: “and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you since… ye knew the grace of God in truth” (Col. 1:5,6 cf. Rom. 6: 21,22).
Accept God’s message of grace, trust in Christ as your Savior and He will help you to produce the fruit.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.