Doing Good… For love, not salvation

 

Young romantic man in love feeding his girlfriend with cotton ca

‘The oldest viable seed to have grown into a plant was a date palm seed estimated to be 2,000 years old (making it the only surviving contemporary of Jesus). It was discovered in 1963 when Herod the Great’s fortress of Masada near the Dead Sea was excavated. It was planted in 2005 and now Methuselah, as the plant is called, stands over 4ft high. Botanists believe the seed had managed to remain viable for so long because the Dead Sea area’s climate is exceptionally dry and stable.’[1]

While that’s a fun fact, there is another even greater surviving seed from 2,000 years ago – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeds are our source of life. We eat them, sow them, harvest them, eat them and sow some more. Without seeds bearing fruit – we cease to exist!

Paul the apostle explains the gospel as a seed. He says: “(The gospel) 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[2].

For the last 2,000 years, Jesus’ mission to restore people to God has only being increasingly fruitful. As Paul says to the Christians in Colossae, they are the fruit of the gospel. Their faith in Jesus is the fruit of His message, the gospel. Paul is overjoyed at how far the gospel seed has traveled. And while history has continued to unfold, so has the seed of the gospel continued to fly. Jesus shared the gospel with his disciples. One of Jesus’ crew was Peter, who shared the gospel publically. About 3000 people responded positively in faith. Those people went to their homes and shared the good news about Jesus and so on and so on. Today, all over the world the gospel is increasing its fruitfulness.

After sharing his thankfulness to God that the gospel has made it to them, he shares his prayer to God that he makes for them: “that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.[3] The gospel, which is received by faith in Jesus, is like a seed in the believer. It begins to grow and begins to bear fruit in their lives too. What is the fruit of the gospel? It is doing good works and increasing in the knowledge of God. *Please notice that these ‘good works’ and ‘increase in knowledge of God’ are not done in order for the believer to earn salvation. They are fruit of the gospel; having been received and now growing in the believer’s life. Paul is not saying that there must be fruit for a seed to take root, he is saying that as the seed takes root, he prays that there will be much fruit. But the seed is already in the heart of the believer. We do good because we are loved by God, and because we love God, not for salvation.

[1] Taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/the-filter/qi/8180000/QI-Quite-interesting-facts-about-seeds.html on August 25, 2016.

[2] Colossians 1:6

[3] Colossians 1:9-10

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