I see many believers using Matthew 7 very wrongly. I have seen Jesus words in Matthew 7 to teach…
1. That a person with good fruit is saved and a person with bad fruit is not saved.
2. That Matthew 7 shows that a believer can lose Salvation.
BOTH ARE FALSE by the very context Jesus is using. Jesus is not teaching this in Matthew 7!
The focus is on FALSE PROPHETS (vs 15) who are those “…THAT WORK INIQUITY” (vs 27). Jesus speaks about the false prophets, and what are they doing wrong?
They are thinking and telling others that it is WHAT THEY DO that qualifies them for salvation in Jesus. Verse 22 makes it clear, “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Do you See it? They are saying have not WE, and in thine name WE, WE done many WORKS. WE WE WE! They rely on their own ability to please God and by doing such think they are saved.
As for fruit inspecting,
“17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know THEM.” (Matthew 7:17-20 KJV)
Verse 18… does that mean a Christian will ALWAYS DO GOOD and never sin? NO! Verse 19 clarifies verse 18. Also in verse 20, Jesus uses the word THEM, as in the false prophets – not believers!
Jesus is talking about the fact that only a believer in Christ can even have good works. Only a believer has the Spirit of God (John 3:18, 2 Cor. 5:17-21, Colossians 2). A person that does not believe in Christ alone for Salvation is not saved and not born again. They are only using externals and believe they are saved – but they are not. They will be shocked in horror when on judgement day Jesus says to them “…I NEVER knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:23 KJV) These are not believers on Christ for righteousness. They are those thinking it is THEIR GOOD DEEDS/WORKS that save them. They are following a false WORKS FOR SALVATION Gospel and it is really not much different than following the Law for righteousness which Apostle Paul tells will not justify anyone (Galatians 2).
Matthew 7 is about seeing the fruits of the FALSE PROPHETS and a warning to be aware of “THEM”. That is Jesus’ focus. HE does not say to beware of “US” believers.
A believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling. They have become born again, the righteousness of God, in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-21) through belief on Christ alone for justification (John 3:18, 2 Cor. 15:1-4, Eph. 2:8-9). Made by God a NEW ETERNAL CREATION IN THE SPIRIT. Reborn FROM the ‘Spirit of Man’ to the ‘Spirit of God’. Our old ‘Spirit of Man’ nature is DEAD. It has been DEAD ever since the very moment of belief on Christ for righteousness (Romans 6, Colossians 2, Eph. 1:13-14) and we are COMPLETE IN CHRIST in the Spirit (Colossians 2).
It is an INTERNAL CHANGE of our very being. Now, from this new Spirit, we renew our minds by the Word of God and by the Holy Spirit indwelling. This change of MIND (repentance), works outwardly into good works and right living because right believing… leads to right living. So yes, believers will, over time, do increasingly show good works, good fruits. This is our process of sanctification (John 17:17)
Jesus talks about a tree. So where does the fruit grow? ON THE BRANCHES. Where does the branch get its power to do that? From the SAP. Where does the SAP come from? THE ROOT OF THE TREE. The root is our core being..our Spirit. A believer in Christ for righteousness has “The Spirit of God” (Forgiven all sins, Heaven bound). A person that believes it is good works for our righteousness still has the Spirit of Man (no good works erase any sin, they are unforgiven, ALREADY condemned – John 3:18).
!! BUT we can not be FRUIT inspectors of others to JUDGE whether they are saved or not !! That is not what Jesus has stated in Matthew 7.
Why not? Because Salvation is NOT BY WORKS. Salvation by works is the very thing Jesus is warning about in Matthew 7. We cannot change our core being – only God can do that and it is not by our works (Eph 2:8-9, Colossians 2:12), but by faith and belief on Christ (John 3:18) and His once for all sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10) for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2).