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Page 187

    one experienced a real need for the message given; the second time, they were convinced of their misery and need for deliverance.

    The message of deliverance in Christ, presented by His messengers, can be regarded as boring by people who have never experienced their spiritual misery. They are disinterested because they do not perceive a need for the message of the gospel.

    But the heartfelt experience of their misery, of their need, changes this dramatically. Why?

    How does this example illustrate the necessity of misery, deliverance, and thankfulness being not only head knowledge, but also heartfelt experience? Why does the experience of personal deliverance require an experience of personal misery?

The fruits of true conversion are good works of love to God and others.

The more inward-working graces of misery, deliverance, and thankfulness (repentance, faith, and obedience) produce the more outward-working fruits in a converted person's life - works of love to God and others. Conversion on earth is not perfect, due to the person's remaining sinful nature; yet, good works will and must evidence themselves in the lives of true believers. In certain cases of physical or mental inability, expression of the inward graces in outward actions is not possible (at least, not possible for us to properly interpret). This, however, is not a hindrance to God who knows and judges the hearts of all. God's normal manner of working, however, is that the inward-working marks reveal themselves in outward-working fruits, in good works of love toward God and others.


    In the third century, A.D., Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, wrote to a friend, "It is a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it, a quiet and holy people, who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people are Christians - and I am one of them."

    How does this confession testify of the fruits of true conversion, throughout the church of all times?

How do the textual references quoted in this column testify of the necessity of good works as a fruit of conversion?



 

A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

- Matthew 7:18-20

But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

- James 1:22

Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

- James 2:19-20

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

- I Corinthians 13:1

For we are His workman-ship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

- Ephesians 2:10

Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

- Titus 2:14

They answered and said unto Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

- John 8:39

 

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