Our fruit comes from God as a result of our union with Him. The fruit of the branch is directly traceable to the root. Sever the connection, the branch dies, and no fruit is produced. By virtue of our union with Christ we bring forth fruit. Every bunch of grapes has been first in the root; it has passed through the stem and flowed through the sap vessels and fashioned itself externally into fruit. But it was first in the stem; so also every good work is first in Christ, and then it is brought forth in us. Christian, treasure this precious union with Christ, for it must be the source of all the fruitfulness that you can ever hope to know. If you were not joined to Jesus Christ, you would be a fruitless branch indeed.
Our fruit comes from God as to spiritual providence. When the rain falls from heaven, when the clouds look down from on high and are about to distill their liquid treasure, when the bright sun swells the berries in the cluster, each heavenly benefit may whisper to the tree and say, "From me comes your fruit." The fruit owes much to the root-that is essential to fruitfulness-but it also owes a great deal to external influences. How much we owe to God's gracious providence, by which He provides us constantly with quickening, teaching, consolation, strength, or whatever else we need. To this we owe all of our usefulness or virtue.
Our fruit comes from God as to skillful gardening. The gardener's sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree by thinning the clusters and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it, Christian, with the pruning that the Lord does to you. "My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away; and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit."1 Since God is the author of our spiritual graces, let us give Him all the glory for our salvation.