Christians: Explain Matthew 7:19-20?

"19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."

What is this "fruit" that Jesus speaks of. It can't be works, can it?

Ephesians 2:8-9

"8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 NOT by works, so that no one can boast."

If "them" (meaning those who TRULY know Christ) are known by their "works", then even those who not only don't believe in Jesus, but literally DECLARE that He is NOT the son of God, all the while performing "good works", must, then, be considered "them." And thus why I believe it is not by works that you will know the children of God, but rather because of other reasons. What are those reasons or signs?

What are your thoughts?

10 Answers

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  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Continue reading: “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

    To produce fine fruit, we must do the will of God. We can do many good works, but if we do not do what God asks of us, we are not doing His will. He has appointed his Son as head of the congregation, so we must obey Jesus as well. (Hebrews 5:9)

    He commanded us in Matthew 28:19, 20 to "go ... make disciples."

    He also commands Christians to love their fellow Christians. (John 13:34, 35; 15:12, 13)

    We are to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44)

    We are to love God and our neighbor. (Mark 12:29-31)

    Do you know of any group that does the above to the best of their ability, sometimes at the cost of their freedom or even life? You should associate with those who do that. Jesus said: “. . .He that is not on my side is against me, and he that does not gather with me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30; compare Hebrews 10:24, 25)

    Source(s): Also see Galatians 5:19-23
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  • 8 years ago

    You can recognize a tree by its fruit. Bad trees bear bad fruit.

    Bad trees are cut down and tossed in the fire.

    Your comment does not line up with:

    Mat 7:18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

    Your passage from Ephesians is correct. You are not saved by works. However, you do good works naturally because you are saved. Works is not the deciding factor in where you spend eternity. For a Christian, it determines your rewards.

    1 Cor 3:12-15

    Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each ones work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

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  • 8 years ago

    Matthew 7:19-20; the branches don't represent the true believer and therefore will be 'pruned' away and thrown into the fire. Genuine salvation is evidenced by 'fruitfulness' , how you live your life in obedience to God's word. James put it this way; James 2:26 " As the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without deed's is dead." A Christian is not a person who says "I believe in Jesus" and that's it, a true Christian is a person who makes Jesus the Lord of his life and has a relationship with him. A relationship is giving not just receiving, again as James says in James 4:10 " Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up." Excellent question Brother, it leads a person to scripture and life.

    Source(s): Sola Scriptura.
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  • Jim
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Good works do not result in salvation, but salvation does result in good works. Why? Because salvation not only changes our eternal destination, it also changes our internal disposition. And this is because when a person receives Christ, they are made a new person spiritually by the Holy Spirit who comes to live within them. And the Spirit changes our basic spiritual inclination from being self-centered sinners to God-centered saints. And this change in our spiritual disposition causes a change in our behavior.

    And so a person who "claims" that they have faith but has no corresponding change of life, is in fact self-deceived about their idea of saving faith. For if they had truly surrendered their life to the authority of Christ as Romans 10:9 prescribes for saving faith, then there would be a corresponding change in direction in their lifestyle, and that change would have been wrought by the Spirit of God.

    But those who see conversion in the one dimensional aspect of simply getting a ticket into heaven often cannot understand the relationship that faith has to works. But when we see that salvation not only changes where we are going, but who we are at the core of our being, then this relationship between faith and works makes perfect sense. Because it is God who has wrought these works that our life now exhibits. And these works are called "fruits".

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I interpret this personally as you will be able to recognize a persons character by their actions, the fruits of their labors. You will be able to recognize believers and non believers by the things that they do. And every person who is not good will be thrown into the fire(hell).

    Basically Ephesians is saying that you cant be a person who says well i lived a good life i paid taxes and never commited crimes and expect salvation, salvation comes from faith through JESUS CHRIST no amount of philanthropy can gain you acces to heaven. It is not salvation + works = heaven it is faith in salvation.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    What is Grace? It is what brings salvation. It teaches us how to live in a way that is pleasing to God. See Titus 2 - deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. It is not this cheap grace that most believe in today 'unmerited favor'. No. It is what teaches us. We can either choose to heed or do our own thing.

    James 2:19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

    This differs from the works spoken of in Romans 4. In context it is clear that the works spoken of here are the works of the Law. The works spoken of in James is simply obeying God.

    Real faith obeys.

    I am pasting a good sermon below that talks of Ephesians 2:8 & 9.

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  • 8 years ago

    Yes Jesus is talking about works. I say this because Matt 7:19,20 is in line with another scripture at James 2:26 which says faith without works is dead. Just like when someone say they love you, you wouldn't believe it unless they show it with works; Jehovah God is the same way.

    Source(s): The Bible
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  • 8 years ago

    Ephesians 2:9 means works of the law (Mosaic Law) not works of charity. Christians should be known by their works and not just their proclamation of faith. Faith without works is hollow. (James 2:18-20)

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    read ephesians 2: 10

    we are saved unto good works that God has ordained in the beginning.

    IF we are truly saved....we will bear fruit....if we do not bear fruit....we are probably not truly saved

    Works do not save, but they follow salvation and are a sign of salvation....

    Which is what James was saying, Faith without works....is dead

    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

    A fig tree bears figs......or its not a fig tree

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  • 8 years ago

    Right. Works can be faked, speaking in tongues, for instance, can be faked ( lol ), prayer can be faked, so how will we know we can see the works Christ is referring to?

    Actually, I find the answer is easier than some might think!

    Anyone who is showing the opposite of these traits, especially the first few:

    Romans 3

    10 As it is written:

    “There is no one righteous, not even one;

    11 there is no one who understands;

    there is no one who seeks God.

    12 All have turned away,

    they have together become worthless;

    there is no one who does good,

    not even one.”[b]

    13 “Their throats are open graves;

    their tongues practice deceit.”[c]

    “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”[d]

    14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]

    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

    16 ruin and misery mark their ways,

    17 and the way of peace they do not know.”[f]

    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

    The further you go away from these, the more you show the work of God through you. Those works defy the nature of sin in all of us, to where we DO seek after God, we gossip less, we choose not to poison people with our words, . . . in other words, we show these traits:

    Galatians 5

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

    We become more in tune with the nature of God (while always maintaining the connection to God through Christ), rather than the nature we were born with.

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