Sunday, 4 August 2019
Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3:12
James continues with more rhetorical questions, again demanding negative answers. He questions, “Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives”? This takes the student of the Bible back to the first page of Scripture –
“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind.” Genesis 1:11, 12
The answer to the question is, “No, such cannot occur.” The reason for the answer is that God has ordained it this way. He has made each fruit tree according to its kind, and it bears fruit which is according to its kind. The fruit contains a seed which corresponds to the fruit, and that seed will bear a new tree, according to its kind. And to ensure that the reader continues to think on these lines, James continues with, “or a grapevine bear figs?”
Again, the answer is, “No.” The reason for asking the same type of question as before is the same reason we do this today. In asking a second question concerning the same matter, it asks us to continue with the process in our own minds for all such occurrences as they come to mind. “Can a coconut tree bear durian fruit?” “Can an orange tree bear bananas?” By asking twice, we are encouraged to think the matter through to its logical and complete conclusion.
Knowing that this is the case, James then goes back to answer the question of the previous verse. He had asked, “Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” His answer is, “Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” In these words, he includes one which is only found here in Scripture, halukos. It signifies “salty.” A spring cannot issue forth salty and fresh.
As this is so, and as the words are intended to be tied into what issues from the mouth of man, James shows the illogical and inconsistent thought of blessing and cursing issuing forth from the same mouth.
Life application: Considering the early Genesis account in relation to the coming of Jesus, it gives us an insight into the mystery of Christ. He was born of the Holy Spirit and of Mary. Therefore, He is the unique God/Man – fully God through the Holy Spirit and fully Man through Mary. Therefore, He alone is qualified to change our nature from corruption to life – from a bitter salt spring to one which issues forth fresh water.
By nature, we are at enmity with God and we cannot produce anything pleasing to Him. Sin separates us from Him. But by accepting Christ, our very nature is changed and we can now be pleasing to Him – not because of anything inherent in us, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you have not yet accepted Christ, no matter how you feel about your good deeds, your separation from God makes them futile. Put your trust in the Lord and He will change you to a spring of fresh water.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of the Water of Life – the renewing of our souls through the power of the Holy Spirit. We ask that you fill us daily with Your goodness so that we will be continual springs of fresh water to those around us. Thank You for Jesus, thank you for Your Spirit, and thank You for Your great love. Amen.