The One Who Endures: The Parable of the Soils

The Bible teaches that those who make genuine professions of faith will continue in those confessions of faith; they will bear fruit as a consequence of God’s working in them.

Consider your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it bearing fruit? Does it continue stable and steadfast in the Lord? Are they subtle ways that it is shifting from the gospel? Just as one might see warning signs as you drive down the road and you apply the brakes and respond responsibly, so God uses these warning to motivate the genuine believer: be careful and persevere in your faith because it is God who is working in you.

 

The Bible is very clear that those who make genuine professions of faith will continue in those confessions of faith. The genuine believer will bear fruit as a consequence of God’s working in them. Thus, Scripture often brings to the believer this motivating command: bear fruit. We are to “work out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12), ‘make our calling and election sure’ (2 Pet. 1:10), and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt.  3:8Luke 3:8).

One of the best passage to remind us the important of bearing fruit is the parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13:1-23Mark 1:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15. It is a very basic parable. In it, a farmer sows seeds in his field. He walks along the field scattering seeds. The seeds fall four different places: (1) the hard path, where birds eat it up; (2) rocky ground where it springs up immediately but is soon scorched by the sun because it cannot develop deep roots; (3) seed falls among thorns where again it grows up but then is quickly choked out by the stronger weeds; (4) the good soil where it not only sprouts but bears fruit thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times itself.

In both Matthew and Mark’s account Jesus teaching the parable, they add an interlude before the explanation. The interlude is details why Jesus speaks in parables. He speaks in parables because not everyone is given the secrets of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11-12). Matthew specifically quotes Isaiah 6:9-10 to this end. The speaking in parables makes it clear that it is only by God’s revelation into our hearts that we understand the message. Many in Jesus’ day heard his word and some even liked what he said, but they never understood with their heart and produced the fruit of repentance. However, there are those to whom God has given understanding: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16).

After this, Jesus goes on to explain the parable. The soil of the hard path are those who hear the message of the kingdom but do not understand or believe. To switch metaphors, they are blind and the devil snatches away the Word they heart. It never even sprouts in the heart.

The second and third types of seed concern us the most when it comes to the perseverance of the saints. The seed on the rocky ground is “the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matt. 13:20-21).

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