God’s plan and God’s expectation is that those who are saved will bear fruit. And not only will they bear fruit, but they will bear fruit quickly, consistently, and abundantly. Fruitfulness is evidence of both salvation and sanctification. This was the conviction of Robert Macdonald, who ministered in Scotland in the mid-1800s.
In the religion of the Colossians there was more than mere conviction, or emotional excitement, or visible profession; there was, over and above all this, varied and substantial fruit. Speaking to them of the word of the truth of the gospel, the apostle said, “which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth.” The fruit so commended were those graces of the Spirit which adorn the Christian character, and of which all must more or less be possessed who would really be the Lord’s.
Fruit is the Lord’s expectation, and it is a grievous sin to disappoint it: “These three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none.” Fruit, too, is the test of discipleship: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” To remain barren and unfruitful, therefore, decisively falsifies our profession. Moreover, when abundant, fruit is specially honouring to the Lord; for it is expressly written, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit.” From these and similar statements it is clear that when fruit does not spring up in the life, the word has never truly gone down into the heart. This is ever a perilous condition, for though the Lord may bear long with the fruitless, he will not bear always.
With regard to the Colossians, it is an interesting fact that they were not only richly fruitful, but the word produced fruit in them from the first day they heard it. Like the Bereans, they received the word with all readiness of mind, and speedily brought forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
We cannot be too soon the Lord’s, and live to high and holy purpose.