Anyone can profess to believe in Jesus but it doesn’t hold any weight if there was no repentance and resultant Biblical fruit (Jam 2:14-26; Ac 3:19; 26:20; Matt 7:15-23). The devils also believe (Jam 2:19) and actually do much more than the average “Christian” in that they tremble and fall down in submission to Him, even obeying Him (see Jam 2:19; Mk 1:27; 3:11). A profession of faith without immediate and ongoing fruit is dead. It denies true salvation. It denies the power of God (2 Tim 3:5). Outwardly it may appear in a true manner, at least for a period of time, but in reality it’s dead.
A professing believer may deceive others his entire life, yet be unsaved. We see that in Matt 7:22; Jn 2:23-25 and many other places. No spiritual fruit, disobedience to Gods Word, are possible without a living union to Christ, without abiding or dwelling in Him, a state brought about by being unregenerate (Hos 14:8; Gal 2:20; Phil 1:11). On its own, “the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,” (Jn 15:4) for the unregenerate man cannot in any way please God (Rom 8:7-8; Heb 11:6). However, saints can and do bear fruit, for they do abide or dwell in Christ.
The true believer will always abide (Jn 15) or remain faithful to Christ’s Word and commandments as a pattern of his life, and thus bring forth much fruit and good works by obedience to Gods will, the certain consequence of spiritual union with Christ (Ezk 36:25-27; Jer 23:3; Jn 8:31; 10:27; 12:24-26; 15:1-16; Mk 8:34-36; Matt 13:23; Ac 26:20; Rom 6:22; Gal 5:18-24; Eph 2:10; Col 1:6).
In Col 1:4-6 Paul makes it crystal clear that all saved have fruit immediately, like the Colossians who were saved by “the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and BRINGETH FORTH FRUIT, as it doth also in you, SINCE THE DAY ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:”
Gods Word is very clear that no born again believer goes without fruit for some time like a garden or tree, after his profession of faith. There are parallels between salvation and trees/garden, but it’s not an exact parallel nor does the parallel to time compare. While all trees and gardens take a period of time to produce fruit, some even years, all saved people produce fruit immediately at their conversion. There are no exceptions.
The truly saved don’t twist Gods Word so it fits their philosophy (heretical eisegesis) or divide Gods Word into essentials and non-essentials, both of which are heretical, so as to justify a false profession.
What is fruit? Fruit doesn’t only refer to “fruit of the Spirit” in Gal 5:22, but is much more than that (for instance: Matt 13:23; Ps 1:1-3; Pr 11:30; 12:12; Jn 4:35-38; 1 Cor 3:11-15; 2 Cor 5:18-6:1) and in general refers to obedience to Gods Word including practicing active separation and preaching of the gospel. Most of the passages above would be nonsensical if fruit was primarily emotions (Gal 5:22). Let’s hypothetically say it was only that—does it take some time or a long time, like months or years for “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance” (Gal 5:22) to come about? Never. It’s present absolutely immediately at conversion, noted in all true conversions in scripture.
So true conversion brings forth fruit from the very moment of regeneration and knowing the grace of God in truth, for the “root of the righteous yieldeth fruit” (Pr 13:12), which root is Christ (Jn 15:1-3), so they never cease producing fruit, for God never stops working in those He indwells (Phil 1:6: 2:12-13; Rom 8:28-29; 1 Cor 1:6-9; Heb 13:20-21). Jer 17:7-8:
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Fruit is always the result of obedience to the words of God, His statues, judgements and precepts with a single eye and singleness of heart. Jesus speaking to His people the Jews from whom He was now turning, said “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matt 21:43). That would be the Gentile people and the inference is, Gentiles that will be saved will be fruitful.
In the parable of the sower and seed, only the good ground is converted, for it is the only one that has understanding and is fruitful (Matt 13:3-23). Born again Christians don’t just bear fruit; they produce fruit (Jer 17:8; Mk 4:7-8; Jam 3:12) which has the same meaning as yielding.
We can conclude that a true believer will be fruitful and those that aren’t do not have the root and vine, which is Jesus Christ, and don’t abide in Him (Jn 15:1-6), regardless of their claims to the contrary, and “If a man abide not in [Christ], he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn 15:6). These weren’t planted by God, and Jesus said: “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matt 15:13). They’re without Biblical fruit and Matt 3:10 shows their end: “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
To teach that salvation doesn’t immediately produce fruit is to teach a different salvation than the one found in Gods Word. The ones that don’t have fruit immediately and ongoing are mentioned in passages such as Matt 3:3-12; 15:13; Lk 3:3-16; 8:12-14; Jn 15:1-6. Every truly saved person abides in Christ always and Christ abides in them always, and they produce or yield fruit. Abiding never stops. It is all or nothing with the Holy Spirit, which is also why "fruit" of the Spirit is singular in Gal 5:22, because all of it is there or none of it is there. Every believer possesses the Person of the Holy Spirit, not part of Him. He can only have all of Him or none of Him.
The key to producing fruit is true conversion, repentance in godly sorrow leading to salvation (2 Cor 7:10) and fruit (2 Cor 7:11), which demands death to self, an aspect of saving repentance, necessary for seed to bring forth fruit: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” (Jn 12:24-25). To hate your life by losing it in repentance and faith in Christ, relinquishing your will for His by getting off the throne and letting the King on it, thus surrendering to Jesus as Lord—will bring about the new birth through the incorruptible seed of God (1 Pet 1:23-25) planted on good ground and will always “take root downward, and bear fruit upward.” (2 Ki 19:30). Paul said true salvation is to “repent and turn to God,” which follows with doing “works meet for repentance” (Ac 26:20)—the evidence of true conversion: instantaneous opened eyes from blindness into perfect truth (NOT unsound doctrine), turning from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Christ (Jn 8:31-31; Ac 26:18; 1 Jn 2:20-21,27; Pr 8:8-9; 22:20-21), among many other things.
The evidence and fruit of false believers and false teachers on the other hand is corrupt fruit from a corrupt tree and their sure fruit is their false doctrine: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits…” (Matt 7:15-20). Rom 16:17 warns of them, among many other passages. They corrupt the Lord Jesus Christ and His teachings including the doctrine of salvation (2 Pet 2:1; Ju 1:4; 2 Jn 1:9-11; and many follow their pernicious ways (2 Pet 2:1-3; Rom 16:18). They are “unlearned and unstable” and “wrest the scriptures, unto their own destruction” which is an “error of the wicked,” a warning to true believers not to be misled (2 Pet 3:16-17).
False teachers most frequently don’t appear grievous outwardly but it is their nature inwardly, what Matt 7:15 teaches. They have the appearance of true teachers and godliness (2 Tim 3:5-9), very well and honourable in good words and fair speech (Rom 16:18), but are in fact “deceitful workers,” keeping their true nature hidden, like Satan whom comes as an angel of light, while they pose as “ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:12-15). They are all around us, especially in religious circles. To think that they always appear as someone evil and grievous, is deception. They don’t. The litmus test whether someone is a true teacher or a false one is their doctrine.
The Lord Jesus Christ declared the following concerning every person that is born again:
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." (Jn 15:16).
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Eph 5:8-11).