Why Deeds?

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”

Luke 6:43-49

Why, if salvation is through faith in Christ and only in faith, does Jesus make such a big deal about what we do and say? What is the purpose of the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus ends his dialogue with two answers to those questions.

The first answer is simple enough. If we don’t act Godly, then we don’t have Godly hearts. Our words and deeds are the reflections of what is in our hearts. Jesus’s description of “abundance of the heart” gives me a mental image of a flooding lake spilling over the sides of a dam. I imagine my heart filled to the brim with emotions until there isn’t room for more, and they come spilling out as words. If we really and truly love God, our words and deeds should naturally reflect that, and should naturally change. But we are still sinners, so maybe sometimes we have to change our behaviors first in hopes that our hearts will follow suit.

The second answer is harder to understand, though I think it relates to the first. Following Jesus’s command helps us to build a foundation for our faith. When we fail to change the way we interact with (and view) the world by taking the words of God into our hearts and actions, at the first sign of difficulty our faith will come crashing down around us. We know what God says, but we never truly experience His glory and love. So we forget why we believed in the first place. But when we do follow Jesus’s commands, we feel closer to God. And that builds a foundation for a relationship that can weather even the worst situations.

This entry was posted in Luke and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why Deeds?

  1. tjustincomer says:

    You are in the book of Luke (at least, the quote is 🙂 ), but in Matthew, the whole point revolves around Matthew 5:20. Our righteousness is to exceed that of the Pharisees. What does that mean? Look through the rest of Matthew 5 and 6, where Jesus explains, “They teach this, but this is what I say. They do this, but this is what I tell you to do.” Essentially, Jesus goes from the outward works to the effect on the heart. Then, when you reach chapter 7 and we find this dialogue about the trees and the fruit they produce, the point is pretty simple: if the tree is good, then it will not produce bad fruit. Thus, if you find bad fruit, it isn’t a good tree. The trick, then, is to discern between bad fruit and dying branches. Your faith isn’t merely accredited as righteousness, like God just pretends like you aren’t wicked anymore. There is something implicit to faith that causes the heart to turn, to change, and thus no longer bear the bad fruit.
    Grace and peace in Christ. I hope this might help? The fruit and deeds are simply the result of the inward change, and not the other way around. Blessings and love from Ohio 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • kmcr097 says:

      I struggle with the idea, then, that as a sinner the implication is that I have NOT inwardly changed. And maybe I haven’t, not really. Since we are sinners at heart maybe we CAN’T have the sort of change of heart that should be implicit. But I feel like I have become a different person who still struggles with sin. I guess that’s why I hope that if I act a certain way maybe my heart will catch up.

      Thanks for the encouragement. God bless!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Faith, Humility, and Love | Understanding the New Testament

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s