I would like to have, say $1.00, for every time a person will say of another; “He cannot be saved. I see no fruit.” The fruit referred to is either some thing Inspector X wants done or a falling short in a way which Inspector X especially finds revolting. When trying to remind Inspector X that one is saved by faith apart from works a verse gets used to justify this fruit inspection.
Matthew 12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” RSV
Context is everything. This follows the incident of the enemies of Jesus saying he was doing things by the power of the devil. v 24 It was out of the evil heart of unbelief and denial of the true Messiah that produces this bad fruit. No person, with faith in Jesus, would ever say such a thing about his work. This is the bad fruit which shows the heart is not trusting Jesus. The unbeliever will not receive the gift of salvation won for him or her on the cross of Jesus.
This judging of another believer is offensive to our crucified and risen Lord who desires us to look at his finished work and trust that for salvation. Through the hearing of his word, faithfully preached and divided, he gives us true repentance and salvation. He has also given us the gift of baptism to know we are adopted into God’s family. Jesus also gives us his body and blood in the Supper to know that our sins are forgiven, to strengthen us and to keep us in the faith.
Let us trust this good news, gifts and promises. Instead of always looking within look to Jesus and live in his peace. †