Can We Judge Others By Their Works?

By David J. Stewart | April 2018

       I recently received a letter from a dear web visitors, asking me a good question from the book of Matthew:

Matthew 7:16 (King James Version), “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

Can people judge someone's salvation according to their fruits?

Here is my biblical response:

Hey *****,

Carefully notice that "works" is not mentioned in Matthew 7 concerning a good tree or corrupt tree...

Matthew 7:16-20, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 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."

The Bible teaches us to "try" (test) the spirits, to see whether or not they preach the truth of Jesus Christ correctly...

1st John 4:1-3, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."

book of Matthew portrays Jesus as a KING; Mark as a SERVANT, Luke as a MAN; and John portrays Jesus as the SON OF GOD. So the Gospel of John is the book we ought to focus on for the plan of salvation. According to John 20:31, the Gospel of John was written to convince us that Jesus is the Son of God, and that by believing we can be saved. The Gospel of John is God's Gospel tract! SO anything that we read elsewhere in the Bible MUST coincide with the Gospel of John. Thus, we know that "fruit" in Matthew 7:16 cannot refer to "good works," but to doctrine. The only way that we can determine if someone is saved or not is by the direct word from their mouth. We CANNOT judge any person by watching their works. Cornelius in Acts 10 was a devoutly religious man, who prayed, loved God, gave alms to the poor and fasted; but HE WAS STILL UNSAVED. Thankfully, Cornelius was saved later in the chapter.

I have met some wonderful Catholics and Seventh-day Adventists, who were unsaved. Many religious people live noble, upright, good lives, but are as lost as the Devil. And according to Jesus, many harlots and publicans will be in Heaven! Salvation is based upon faith, not works.

I hope that helps,

Have a good day.

Souls Are Dying!

Precious Christian Testimonies

How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)

“The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

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