“For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. (21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. (22) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:20-22).
Many people have their name listed on a church roll today indicating that they are a Christian. But they don’t bear the witness that they are a child of God, born of the Spirit of God. What is the proof that one is a child of God?
In the text verse (Romans 6:20-22), Paul makes a definite comparison between the servants of sin and the servants of God. The identifying mark is the type of fruit that is born in the daily life of the servant.
The servant of sin bears fruit that reveals he is ruled by the flesh. His fruit reveals that he is in death. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death” (Romans 6:21). That is, your fruit reveals you are dead.
Spiritual death: that is, dead in sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-3):
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Spiritual death is separation from God.
The fruit of the servant of sin is the opposite of holiness and righteousness and peace; his fruit reveals he has no regard for the Law of God. His desire is to fulfill the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life. His fruit reveals he is void of the love of God. Paul describes this kind of fruit in Galatians 5:19-20, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies.”
Whereas the servant of God is “…now being made free from sin (Romans 6:4-18; 8:2), and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22). Paul also describes this kind of fruit in Galatians 5, verses 22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
The major difference in the nature of these two kinds of fruit lies in the kind of tree it is (Matthew 7:16-20); (verse 16), “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” So it is the nature of the tree. Apple trees bring forth apples, etc. Apple trees do not bring forth oranges (without grafting an orange branch to the apple tree).
Therefore, “…a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17b); and a “…good tree bringeth forth good fruit…” (Matthew 7:17a). The corrupt tree represents the servant of sin, because of his evil fruit; and the good tree represents the servant of God, which brings forth the Fruit of the Spirit.
Therefore, the question is repeated, “What kind of tree are you?” There should be no difficulty in answering this question in light of this devotion’s topic. Why not? Because when you examine the fruit you are bearing in your life, it will reveal whether you are a corrupt tree or a good tree.
There is no error in this test or examination; for “Ye shall know them by their fruits…” (Matthew 7:16).