Posted by: Billy Marsh | October 15, 2007

Reflections On True Spirituality: Session 7

Fruit Basket

I was unable to attend this week’s meeting, so I will not be able to add anything extra to chapter 7 of True Spirituality, named “The Fruitful Bride”. Therefore, I will try to keep it short and only highlight a few points.

Schaeffer uses the marriage motif in order to personalize the great importance for Christians to bear fruit that reflects our union with Christ. Here, he is interested in further illuminating the moment-by-moment aspect of our daily spirituality with the Lord by showing how we can be faithful and unfaithful brides even after our holy marriage. Schaeffer posits:

It is possible as a Christian to be bringing forth the same kind of fruit now as we did before we were Christians. Why? Because we are yielding oursleves to the wrong one, specifically to that old master of ours, the devil, Satan (73).

And to that I would add, we also yield to the flesh, not only the evil one. The classic text on this issue is Romans 7:13-25. In this passage, Paul says, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing (Rom 7:18-19).”

Even though Schaeffer does not highlight this aspect of sinful activity within the Christian life, he does insightfully drive home his point concerning the marriage analogy and the fruit we bear as either faithful or unfaithful brides. When we sin, we produce fruit that does not belong to our “rightful lover”. We bring into the external world fruit of the devil (73).

At this point, Schaeffer gives a helpful illustration:

. . . imagine a married couple of one race, both of the one color of skin. Suddenly, the wife brings forth a child clearly of another race. All the world would know that she had been unfaithful to her proper mate. So it is with us (73).

Schaeffer is agruing that if we do not bear fruit that is indicative of our bridegroom, then we are manifesting that we have a new lover. We have, in essence and in practice, committed spiritual adultery. Therefore, as brides, we can then be described as unfaithful in the marital sense, not the relational sense. Hence, Schaeffer quickly uncovers the root behind our adultery, namely faithlessness (73).

Ultimately, the real sin behind whether or not we are faithful to Christ and produce fruit that evidences our marriage to him is faithlessness, or for you Piper fans of whom that terminology does not sit well, unbelief (That’s not a jab at Piper in the least bit; it’s intended for those of whom aren’t satisfied in Christian dialogue unless everything is said with his terminology).  Schaeffer moves on to further expound upon this idea by referencing one of the verses that Piper himself really opened up to me in new light, that is, Rom 14:23 which says, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” In this regard, Schaeffer comments,

Anything that is not brought forth from faith is sin. When I am not allowing this fruit, which has been purchased at such a price, to flow through me, I am unfaithful, in the deep sense of not believing God. When we understand this, certianly we must say, “May God forgive us (75).”

So, how does one be a fruitful bride? Have faith! Believe God! Trust his promises and walk in step with the Holy Spirit who is faithful to work out in our hearts those fruits of the Spirit which can only come from above (Gal 5; Phil 2:12-13). You may doubt your salvation at times because you can agree with the Apostle Paul that you do not do the good that you want to do. Are you being a faithful bride? Do you have faith in God and his Word? Do you live moment-by-moment believing the power of the crucifed and resurrected Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit? If not, Repent and Believe in the gospel (Mk 1:15).

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