“Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” (Matthew 13:8 NLT)
A few weeks ago, my wife and I took inventory of our plants, seeking to determine which ones survived the blazing summer heat, and which ones needed to be replaced. Having never worked with the Las Vegas soil, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it became glaringly apparent why the plants that died didn’t survive. They had no root systems.
In the parable referenced above, Jesus speaks of four types of ground or soil upon which the “seeds of faith” are planted. In the verses that follow the parable, Jesus gives explanation as to what it meant, with the bottom line being – without deep roots, made possible by fertile and healthy soil, not much, if any fruit will be produced.
How might that translate for us? Over the years, the Lord has given me a heart for those who are lost, those who have never heard or never believed and placed their trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. But recently the Lord is showing me how many who profess faith and fill the seats of our churches, are more lost than those who have never believed. How would I know that? It’s evident by the fruit, or lack thereof, their life bears.
In Luke 6:45 Jesus said: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Another way to think about this is, the quality of our fruit depends on the quality of our “root system.” What does that mean? In what is our faith rooted?
For example, I mentioned in a previous article a person who was living in blatant rebellion against God, but believed he was still going to heaven because he was holding on to a doctrinal statement that says: “Once saved, always saved.” His spiritual “root system” isn’t grounded in faith in Jesus, it’s rooted in his faith in a doctrinal statement he’s grossly misunderstood and is misrepresenting.
Another common fallacy many hold onto is Baptism. Many who were baptized as infants believe that they are going to heaven because of that. Infant Baptism is not taught in the Bible. It was an effort on the part of churches to bring some measure of comfort to parents in the event of their child’s death, that the child would go to heaven. To my knowledge, it was never intended to give life-long assurance.
Baptism, according to Scripture, is an adult decision made after a person places their faith and trust in the completed work of Christ on the Cross. In Romans 6 Paul describes Baptism as an outward visible symbol of an inward and invisible act. Its purpose is to give someone who is already a believer, a public means of declaring their new faith in Christ.
Some, by misunderstanding 1 Peter 3:21, believe that their baptism saves them. This verse looks back to Noah and the flood and compares baptism to the flood waters of Noah’s day. But the context clearly shows that it was the Ark that saved them, not the water, and even the second part of the verse says: “It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.“
If you’re placing your hope of eternal life in anything other than faith in the completed work of Christ on Calvary, you need to rethink your position. We’ll look at this more closely in tomorrow’s post.
Blessings, Ed 😊