by John Bunyan
“…so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.”
─Titus 3:7-8, NASB
I answer, 1. God’s people are fruitful in good works according to the proportion of their faith; if they are thin in good works, it is because they are weak in faith. Little faith is like small candles, or weak fire, which though they shine and have heat; yet but dim shining and small heat, when compared with bigger candles and greater fire. The reason that some people in Sardis had works that were not perfect before God was because they did not hold fast by faith to the Word that they had formerly heard and received (Revelation 3:1-3).
2. There may be a great mistake in our judging of our own fruitfulness. The soul that indeed is candid and right at heart, is taught by grace to judge itself, though fruitful, yet barren upon two accounts. (1.) When it compares its life to the mercy bestowed upon it: for when a soul indeed considers the greatness and riches of the mercy bestowed upon it, then it must cry out, “O wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24), for it sees itself incredibly falling short of a behavior suitable to one who has received so great a benefit. (2.) It may also judge itself barren, because it falls so far short of that it would attain unto, “it cannot do the thing that it would” (Galatians 5:17).
3. The heart of a Christian is naturally very barren; upon which, though the seed of grace, that is, the most fruitful of all seeds, is sown, yet the heart is naturally subject to bring forth weeds (Matthew 15:19). Now, to have a good crop from such ground, argues the fruitfulness of the seed. For this reason I draw conclusions upon these three things: (1.) that the seed of faith is a very fruitful seed in that it will be fruitful in so barren a soil; (2.) that faith is not obligated to the heart, but the heart to it, for all its fruitfulness; (3.) that the way to be a more fruitful Christian therefore, is to be stronger in believing.
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