By Faith Obey
In agriculture there is a phenomenon known as crop mimicry in which useless or even harmful weeds mimic the characteristics of beneficial crops. Jesus referenced crop mimicry in His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30). As in Christ’s parable, the surest way to distinguish between the undesirable weeds and the desirable crops is to examine the fruit they produce. Good plants produce good fruit. Bad plants produce bad fruit. This is also true of faith. There are false faiths which mimic true and saving faith. According to Jesus, there will be many who profess faith in Him, but remain unknown to Him (Matthew 7:23-24). Such workers of lawlessness will be cast into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:41). In order to avoid the Lord’s condemnation, we must distinguish between true faith that delivers and false faith that deceives. But how? James warns us that even demons believe, but that kind of faith cannot save (James 2:19). The answer is that true faith produces good fruit, whereas false faith produces bad fruit. Therefore, we must examine the fruit of our faith.
An essential distinguishing fruit of genuine faith is obedience, the yielding of our will to God’s will. Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.” This is a reference to the events recorded in Genesis 12:1 in which the Lord told Abraham, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Abraham’s faith in the Lord produced obedience in his heart. God commanded. By faith Abraham obeyed. The fruit of obedience proved the genuineness of his faith. The Lord was Abraham’s Lord. Therefore, Abraham did the things which the Lord said. Jesus provided a contrasting example when He exposed hypocrites by asking them, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Hypocrites profess faith in the Lord, but do not obey Him. Sincere believers, like Abraham, do the things that the Lord says, because their faith produces the good fruit of obedience.
God’s commands are not burdensome or grievous for genuine believers (1 John 5:3). Their faith makes His yoke easy and His burden light (Matthew 11:30). Their delight is to do God’s will (Psalm 40:8). Our Shorter Catechism defines faith in Jesus Christ as, “a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon Him alone as He is offered to us in the gospel”.
(Q&A 86). God’s gift of faith enables us to take hold of and rely upon Christ, who is presented in the gospel as our only Savior and Lord (Luke 2:11). Be sure that your faith in Jesus not only looks to Him as your Savior, but also submits to Him as your Lord. The Apostle Paul teaches us, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). This is another way of saying, “by faith obey”. In so doing, you, like Abraham, will prove the genuineness of your faith.