So, in typical fashion with grace, and with the notion that “God gives to His beloved even in their sleep,” ( Ps 127:2 ) I woke up with another insight about the question from the last post.
First, you should know that in our house, fruit-checking is a bit of a derogatory term. “You’re being such a fruit-checker!” “That small group had some serious fruit-checkers!” I think there is a place for fruit checking but it isn’t what most people try to use it for.
John, in 1John, is talking to believers:
12 I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
1John 2:12-13 ESV
Further, when he writes fruit checking type verses, he is directing it to these same believers:
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1John 3:19-24 ESV
Fruit checking is meant to be a comfort to us.
In our times of doubt, when we wonder if we have assurance, we can look back at certain things and know that we seem to be headed that way. It isn’t that there are not imperative statements in 1John:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
However, he means this in kindness, not as threat. He qualifies such statements with this:
20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 1John 2:20-21 ESV
It is crazy to think that he means you must under threat of banishment never love anything in the world. He knows we will sin:
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
It must be that he is saying, you are beloved, and have entered a very great family. Don’t start longing for your old situation, it is worthless and dying. BUT, if you slip, come back, there is always mercy. And if you start to doubt that, look back at your fruits, and know that His one-way love, His grace, is having its intended effect on you, and it is real. You are forgiven, welcomed, retained, beloved, and even growing. You already know all of this because it is written directly on your heart. Be encouraged!