Matins Devotion: October 3, 2023
When Jesus tells us that we will recognize false prophets by their fruits, what does He mean? What exactly are those revelatory fruits? Well, they’re not signs and wonders, since Jesus tells us elsewhere that false Christs will arise performing signs and wonders. Through demonic power, they’ll look holy. Likewise, the fruits are not really good works. The Pharisees are overflowing with outwardly good works. Nobody is better at obeying the commandments than they are, at least on the surface, but nevertheless they are obsessed with crushing God’s people under the weight of the Law. They are men without mercy and thus false prophets.
No, the fruits here that Jesus speaks of are ultimately doctrine, doctrine that will certainly lead to holy living, but doctrine first and foremost. Jesus Christ, the Healthy Tree, produces the fruit of righteousness. The Son of God won eternal life, salvation, forgiveness, mercy and love for us at Calvary. So if a prophet, if a preacher, if a confessor truly belongs to Christ, that’s what he will give to you as well. If he’s connected to the Healthy Tree through faith, then he will produce what the tree produces.
A false prophet will call you to remain in your sin, to lather in it and deny its destructive power, as Satan does. A true prophet, a true teacher will call you to repent of sin, as Christ has. A false prophet will obscure Christ and urge you to look at yourself, to trust in your own power to save yourself, to worship your own supposed righteousness. A true prophet, that is, a true believer, will set Christ before you, show you His works, and call you to trust in the salvation He has freely and fully won for you.
No matter how many signs and wonders and seemingly good works they have, God does not know the false Christs because they deny Jesus Christ. And if God does not know them, neither should you. Flee from false prophets and seek true teachers, true confessors who place Christ before your eyes, those who will feed you with the fruit produced from the wounds of Jesus Christ.