Matthew 7:18 A Good Tree Bringeth Forth Good Fruit

Matthew 7:18 reads, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

A Calvinist recently quoted the above verse in an email to me to try to prove that man does not have the ability to choose to do right or wrong, that God unchangeably predetermines that for each and every man. But what the Calvinist forgets is that a person has control over what kind of tree he will be, and whether or not he will stay that kind of tree.

It is true a person which is a good tree, that is, has a "honest and good heart" (Luke 8:15) will choose to believe and obey Jesus, but passages like Ezek 18:31 shows that each person is to "make you a new heart," so we have control over what kind of heart (tree) we will have/be. And passages like Heb 3:12,1 show that "holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling" (good tree, honest and good heart) can change their mind and develop "an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God." In other words, once a person chooses to be a good tree and brings forth good fruit and is saved, he does not then turn into a robot.

To teach that God picks out some and forces them to do good and picks out others and forces them to do bad flies in the face of passages like Acts 10:34-25 that says that "God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Any theory that says that man has no choice in the matter contradicts hundreds of plain passages. Josh 24:15, reads, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in those land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." "Choose" in Josh 24:15 means "choose," not "forced."

Matt 7:18 is saying the same thing as Matt 7:7b which reads, "seek, and ye shall find." God does guarantee that true seekers (good trees) will find (bring forth good fruit). But the fact that he commands us to be a true seeker (good tree) necessarily implies that we have a choice in the matter. You can be a good tree and obey God and be saved (Heb 5:9, Matt 7:21), or you can be a bad tree and obey the devil and live with him forever. It is your choice.

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