Ellen G. White Writings

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From the Heart, Page 105

The Barren Fig Tree, April 3

Having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 3:5. (Read Matthew 21:19-21.)

The treatment of the barren fig tree by the Savior of the world shows how all pretenders to godliness will be treated.... This tree represents the Jews, who refused to respond to the love of Christ. Despite all the privileges and opportunities granted them, they brought forth only briers and thorns—no fruit to the glory of God. This blighted tree was a parable to the house of Israel—a most impressive lesson. It is also a lesson to the professed followers of Christ in every age. Reaching through all time, it speaks in unmistakable language to all formalists and boasters of godliness who stand forth to the world with high profession but are utterly devoid of that vital piety which alone God recognizes as fruit....

Like the barren fig tree, many flaunt their foliage—covered branches before the Lord, proudly claiming to be His commandment-keeping people, while the heart-searching God finds them destitute of fruit....

We learn from the Sacred Record that this tree, upon which hung not a redeeming cluster of fruit, was clothed with green foliage. Notice the words, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” The doom of the fruitless fig tree has an application to individual professors who manifest the natural tendencies of the unrenewed heart, and contradict their faith by their daily life. They do not represent to the world the character of Christ, because they have not Christ in them.

Our Savior never turned away from the truly penitent, no matter how great their guilt. But He hates all hypocrisy and vain display....

Fruitless professors, sad indeed is your fate; for the open sinner stands in a more favorable position in the sight of God. The blight of God's curse is upon that class who hide the deformity of their lives under a profession of godliness. John, that bold, undaunted reprover of sin, who came to prepare the way for Christ's first advent, thus addressed the multitude that flocked to hear him: “Therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”—The Review and Herald, January 11, 1881.

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