John 15:8 (ESV)
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
I often remember my days at school. We were taught ‘gardening’ in our boarding school. We sowed seeds and planted tender saplings. We were excited to see the result of what we sow.
Jesus gives us vivid details of who His disciples really are, comparing them to trees bearing fruit. When we planted mango seeds, we were sure of it growing into huge mango trees someday. We did not see the tree when we planted the seed; however, we had a hope to see it grow into a huge tree and produce mangoes.
A mango tree is a mango tree as soon as it is planted, and not because it produces mangoes. In reality, it produces mangoes because it is a mango tree. The fruit is the validation of what it already is. If the tree were to all of a sudden produce rotten apples, then we know for certain that it is not what we thought it was. The one who has really been saved will produce “much fruit” and will “walk worthy” of their calling.
Ephesians 4:1 (ESV)
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
Philippians 1:27 (ESV)
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,
Colossians 1:10 (ESV)
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.
That is to say, the evidence of a “born again” person is not in what they say they believe, but in how they actually live. Even the phrase “born again” indicates more than just a change of heart; it represents a spiritual death, burial, and resurrection; a new life. Thus, no one can be truly “born again” until and unless they embrace the Cross, die with Christ, and are raised to Life in Him. A disciple is called to live a life in a manner worthy of the Lord, bearing much fruit in good work, and increasing in the knowledge and understanding of the Father. In this is our Father glorified!
Scripture references: Romans 7:4-6; Matthew 7:19; Galatians 5:22