Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. (Hosea 14.8)
There are not a few among the professed followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who look to themselves alone for all fruit of every sort. There are some who also seem to be careless about everything of a practical nature, who says that the children of God are always fruitful, and who read the title of this article as though it said "in me is thy fruit found". The title contains a reproof to persons of both classes. It is a very precious passage when applied by the Holy Spirit; for it leads the soul to rely entirely upon Jesus, the Tree of Life, for all kinds of fruit. I shall endeavor to show that, in Scripture, there are three kinds of fruits spoken of, and that each of these several kinds is to be found in Jesus Christ alone.
1. There is fruit which God requires. As a Holy God, He requires spotless holiness; as a just God, He requires untiring obedience in thought, word, and deed; and as a God of truth, He requires the strictest integrity and uprightness in every one that approaches Him. Now justice and mercy have met together in the person of our Emmanuel, and He bears these fruits for us; so that Jehovah finds the fruit we should bear, brought forth and matured in our covenant Head, and is satisfied. This is the true Vine which "cheereth God and man" (Jud. 9:13); thus it is said "In the Lord have I righteousness" (Is. 45:24); and "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification" (1 Cor. 1:30).
2. There is the fruit which the believer wants to have for his soul to feed upon. He wants the fruits of pardon and peace, joy, consolation and comfort, called the fruits of the Spirit because they are altogether spiritual, and produced by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who is given to us. But these fruits are from Christ. Have I pardon? It is the fruit of His death. Have I peace? It is the fruit of His conflict. "He is our peace" (Eph. 2:14). Have I joy? It is rejoicing in Him, in what He is, and in what He has done. Have I consolation? It is through the testimony which the Holy Spirit gives concerning Jesus.
3. There is the fruit of consistency of conduct, which our brethren in the church, and the world at large expect from us; whereby men may know that we belong to Christ, even as our Lord hath said, "By their fruits shall ye know them", and "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another" (John 13:35). Again, He says "I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16). This is the ornament of Christianity; it is worth nothing as regards salvation, but worth much as evidence, not to ourselves, but to others, of the reality of our Christian profession. This fruit also, is from Jesus, and he who lives upon Jesus as his fruit before God, and as the ground and source of his hope, pardon, peace, joy, and consolation, exhibits these fruits in his life and converse. Deadness to the world and its fashions, amusements, and allurements, liveliness in the ways of God, the Spirit of Christ, in meekness, compassion and brotherly love, and the adding of one virtue to another, proclaims a triumph over the old, carnal self. It marks the homeward, heavenward bent of his soul, and whatever he may feel, he rejoices to acknowledge, with gratitude, this fact: "From Thee is my fruit found." So the glory of his state, of his hopes, and of his doings, is all given to Christ, and in glorying, he glories "in the Lord", and in Him alone.