Jesus told us, “..by their fruits, ye shall know them.” These simple words are easy to ignore as they become familiar to us.
In essence, the outward remains a good proof of what is inside. We are not God that we can know the hearts of men, neither should we attempt to do so. The heart is revealed by the fruits of the life.
“A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush.A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. (Luke 6:43-45 HCSB)
We are our brother’s keeper and not their judge. But that does not leave us in naivety to be unable to discern and know what is wrong or evil or error.
Grace Has Fruits
We live in the days where almost everything is smart. And there are smart explanations to sometimes explain away the Scriptures. No matter how it is twisted, the fruit remains a good window to the heart. Grace has fruits. God within will always show forth without. Grace within will produce its fruits.
The litmus test of grace is quite simple: Where grace is known and revealed, Jesus is exalted and glorified, and this in His people. He is not just glorified aside, but in His people. Otherwise said, grace will exhibit the life of Christ through His people. The fruit of grace is a Christ-like life.
The fruit of grace is the glory of God, the splendor of the life of God. When grace is revealed, humanity is saved, redeemed, restored, healed, transformed, empowered, and glorified. And by this, the hearts of men are awestruck with the wonders of what He did for sinners like us through the cross, leaving them in a state of continual praise, worship and thanksgiving to God.
Grace Points Us Towards Christ
Grace is a sign post that points towards Christ, away from ourselves and the world around us. John the Baptist—who had introduced Jesus to the Jews—later sent disciples to ask if Jesus was really the Messiah they were waiting for.
When the men reached Him, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask You, ‘Are You the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else? ‘”At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and He granted sight to many blind people.He replied to them, “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. (Luke 7:20-22 HCSB)
Jesus answered John’s question with an unusual response. He sent the messengers to tell John what they saw and heard, then sent John the evidences. It was expected that when the Messiah showed up, there would be evidences which John was surely aware of. Jesus did not send an extensive theological or philosophical response to talk John out of his doubt. He sent to John the report of the fruits. That same Messiah is the grace of God revealed to us. Where grace is, there will be fruit. You need not look far away or be long to know someone has been touched by grace. No explanations are needed. Grace will produce its fruit, and the fruit of grace is a Christ-like life.
The Counter Evidence
If we understand this test, then we do not need a sermon to know what grace is not or to identify its counterfeit when it shows up.
There is no greater evidence of the absence of grace than the presence of sin. This because grace is not an ideology or pattern of thinking. Neither is it a doctrinal stand to take. It is God’s power to deliver humanity from the power of sin and eternal destruction. One of the cornerstone manifestations of grace is freedom from sin and bondage—evidence that God is not yet in charge.