To Bring Forth Fruit
A daily devotion for April 4th
9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
And God said,Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.And it was so. (Genesis 1:9)
God's act in calling the land up out of the oceans seems to mark the period of evening in this third day. During this period we have the rising of the continents, the weathering of the rocks, and the soil forming gradually to make preparation for the plant life that is to follow.
But remember that all this on the physical level is but a manifestation of the parallel spiritual and moral reality, and every view of nature ought to speak volumes to us about who God is, what He does, and what He intends. These things are at once real and visible and, at the same time, the picture of something unseen that relates to our inner life.
We learn that this human life on earth, between the period of birth and death, is itself divided. This is pictured for us by the rising of the land out of the ocean. The waters are a picture of human life. Rising up out of the ocean of human life is land, which has the capability of producing fruit. Thus, there exists that which is capable of producing fruit and that which is totally incapable of doing so.
There is an old humanity that, by nature, is incapable of fulfilling what God desires; a new humanity, called out of the old, is capable of producing the fruit God envisions. The old humanity is all one fallen race--blinded, darkened, confused, restless, and, as the ocean is one yet divided, so fallen humanity is separated into divisions: nations, peoples, and tongues. The prophet Isaiah says,
the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud (Isaiah 57:20).
You are asking,
Do you mean that all who are not Christian are wicked? We need to bear in mind that there is a respectable form of wickedness as well as a notorious form. You can be knowingly wicked, and you can be ignorantly wicked. People who are exposed to the knowledge of God's purpose, His love, and the program He has for the deliverance of humanity from its bondage and resist God's work, rejecting the Savior whom God has sent and refusing to yield to His gracious call, are clearly wicked and oppose God's will. They are raising their fist in a defiant act against their Creator. That is also why they are restless. The restlessness of our age is directly due to the fact that it is wicked. It is pictured by the ocean, with its wild, surging waves that are never still.
But out of that ocean there comes a new humanity, the earth, a fruitful race of those in Jesus Christ, all one originally in Him as the continents were once, but now divided and fragmented by the forces that have come in since to separate us from one another. Yet there is an ever-present underlying unity that we discover when we come together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank You that You are bringing a new humanity out of the old, and that as part of that new humanity I can bear fruit for You.
Life Application: The natural world speaks to us metaphorically about the inner life of our humanity. Can we see a distinction in our lives between the old, fallen race & new life in Christ?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.