The Banner Of Truth 2014
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. (Psalm 60:4 )

"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).
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Bringing Forth Fruit unto God
(Rom. 7:4)
By Michael Zaucha

 
Newness of Life in Christ.  For those living by faith, it is always profitable to keep the main truth ever before our hearts and minds, just as the Apostle Paul is doing in this portion on the Scripture. Firstly, unto the glory of God, and secondly for the benefit of the saints, the Apostle continues to build on the effectual death of Jesus, and His resurrection from the dead, and His endless life at God’s right hand – and now, Paul reveals what Jesus’ life holds for all those who are “buried with Him by baptism into death.”  There is no reason to speculate or to be ignorant of God’s purpose in His working: “like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
 
The newness of life wherein we walk by the grace of God is the result of Jesus putting  away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, bearing our sin in His body on the tree (Heb. 9:26; I Pet. 2:24). And when God saw the travail of His soul, God was satisfied (Isa. 53:11), which declares that Jesus “made an end of sins,” and thusly, “brought in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24), which the Apostle opens up the glorious result us-ward who believe: we are freed from sin (Rom. 6:7) – freed from its dominion and power!
 
Walk Ye in Him.  To which the Apostle continues to affirm: “you have your fruit unto holiness” (Rom. 6:22). Through the “operation of God” (Col. 2:12), sin and its condemnation is removed, and holiness is what you get from our being joined to Christ. But as glorious as is the good beginning, this is not the full end of the work. Now we must heed the exhortation of the Scripture: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Exod. 18:19-20; Lev. 20:23; Lev. 26:21; Jn. 8:12; Gal. 5:16; Col. 1:10; 2:6-10; Eph. 5:15-16; I Th. 4:1-4; III Jn. 1:4).
 
The newness of life that we have received is a lifelong pressing in to our “expected end” (Jer. 29:11) – “that we should also live with Him” (Rom. 6:8). In order for this union with God and Christ to be perfect and everlasting, there is more for God to accomplish for us and in us, which has to do with the conforming us to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29) .
 
And in our partaking of and walking in the reality of the wonderful works of God by Jesus Christ our Lord, we cry out with the Prophet: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isa. 61:10).
 
The Expectation of God.  Because of all the working of God in salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, there is a present expectation of God – an expectation of those whom He has quickened through the remission of sins - an expectation that God has both desired and purposed; “that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4).
 
God began to reveal His desire and the purpose of His working, even speaking of it in the time of Moses: “thou shalt sow thy field . . . thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof” (Lev. 25:3), and because of this working, the husbandman would reap the benefit of his laboring: “what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it?” (Deut. 20:6).
 
But it would be “He that cometh from heaven” (Jn. 3:31) – the Lord Jesus Christ, who would reveal and identify the main workers that the scriptures spoke of: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the Husbandman” (Jn. 15:1). The prophet Isaiah was given to speak of this wonderful working of God, “working salvation in the midst of the earth” (Ps. 74:12):
 
“Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching His vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:  And He fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the Choicest Vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and He looked that it should bring forth grapes”  (Isa. 5:1-2).
 
Using the imagery that God had begun with Moses, the Prophet would continue to declare the workings of God by Jesus Christ. It was God that chose and planted the True Vine, the Choicest Vine, His plant of Renown (Ezek. 34:29) – The Lord Jesus Christ -  for God knew Him from the beginning (Jn. 1:1), His soul delights in Him, for Jesus would not fail in that for which He was planted of God (Isa. 42:1, 4). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit’ (Jn. 12:24).
 
And this Jesus would do, for Jesus is the Choicest Vine, being Himself full of life; “as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (Jn. 5:26) . . . “that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2). The Choicest Vine of God would produce a robust and lively harvest unto God.
 
To uphold His Elect One in the work, God would continue in the lead of the project. God would fence the vineyard, but not with one made with hands, but with salvation itself, having appointed salvation for its walls and bulwarks (Isa. 26:10) – a strong city indeed! – one well worth our walking about it, and marking it well in our hearts and minds, and giving it much consideration (Ps. 48:12-13).
 
God would also gather out the stones thereof – those things that would prohibit or bind the fruit from coming forth. God gathered these and took them out of the way, and it would be the Apostle Paul who would open the truth of God’s gathering the stones to put them away.
 
God would free us from sin – from its dominion and power – and bring in everlasting righteousness through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
God would set at liberty those bruised under the law’s weight – through Jesus Christ our Lord - exhorting and strengthening His people to “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1). The reverting to lawkeeping as a means of righteousness before God is an entanglement and a bondage that prevents God’s people from bearing fruit, and must be put off and kept off in order to bear fruit unto God.
 
God redeemed us from the curse of the law through Jesus Christ our Lord (Gal. 3:10-14).
 
God delivered us from the fear of death through the death of Christ, our Lord Himself destroying him who had the power of death, that is the devil – opening up the prison doors for those who all their lifetime were subject to this bondage (Heb. 2:14-15).
 
And God would also gather the stones of the traditions of men, which are bound on men as if they were the word of God, through the sending of the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the very image of God – and praise God! – it did shine on us (II Cor. 4:4).
 
All these stones – sin, the law, its curse, our fears, the traditions of men have a hindering and binding effect on men, even those of the household of faith, causing them – in the words of Jesus – to wither on the vine (Jn. 15:6).  But, Jesus came and died, opening the prison to them that are bound (Isa. 61:1), and gave us access to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help us to set aside these encumbrances (Heb. 4:16; 12:1).
And Jesus did this, by Himself being bound.  Jesus was bound that we would be set free.
 
In the garden of Gethsemane, the hour of darkness had begun to fall on our Lord, “Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him – not with gentleness or care, but with anger and hatred – “and led Him away to Annas first” (Jn. 18:12-13), and after this one had dared to interrogate the Son of the Most High God, even having Him struck by the palm of the hand by one of the officers, Jesus was sent - bound – to Caiaphas the high priest (Jn. 18:24). “And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate” (Mk. 15:1), who crucified Jesus, thinking that through their killing Him they had broken the bands between the Lord and His Anointed, that they had cast away His cords from them. In the killing of Jesus, they had made known their hearts– even to the observers in the heavenly places – “We will not have this man to reign over us” (Lk. 19:14).
 
But the Lord God Jehovah, the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth, and all that is in it, would laugh at their derision, and speak unto them in His wrath about the One they had crucified: “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion” (Ps. 2:6), who “shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel” (Ps. 2:9).
 
God would honor His Son’s death by raising Him from the dead, never to die again AND set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places crowning Him with “power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
 
Jesus’ dealings with His enemies is not the fullness of His work from the right hand of God, for the Psalmist also reveals the condition of those who trust in Him: “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Ps. 2:12). And this blessing of God would flow unto them that trust in Jesus unto the bearing of fruit unto God, even eternal life. God would announce to all the creation – because of Jesus accomplished work on the earth (Jn. 17:4) - that now is the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:19), the year of a bountiful and fruitful harvest unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, who “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).
 
In Jesus’ own words, He spoke of His continuing work from the right hand of God, to the glory of God: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (Jn. 15:1-8). --Michael Zaucha