Recognizing the distinction between moral law/government and physical law is important on many levels. It is, as well, significant to realize how such distinctions affect us in practical ways. The “influence and response” aspect of moral law/government must be kept separate from the “cause and effect” aspect of physical law. This being the case, I would like to address the concept of producing fruit.
In the account given of God creating the physical universe, we read in Genesis 1:11-12, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth’; and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.” Notice the inbuilt procedure of “bearing fruit after their kind.” On the physical level, plants produce other plants “after their kind,” animals produce other animals “after their kind” and the human species produces human species “after their kind.”
As we carefully consider the moral application of a similar procedure, we find certain interesting insights with which it is worth wrestling. First, we cannot simply say that a righteous man (or woman) will automatically produce righteous offspring “after their kind.” However, a righteous person will exercise an influence that tends to produce “fruit after their kind.” Again, this is not the “cause and effect” procedure seen in the physical realm. We can see this concept referred to and dealt with in a passage such as Ezekiel 18.
The next dimension to consider regarding the moral dynamic of producing “fruit” involves the challenge of cleansing what is impure in comparison to defiling what is pure. Consider the prophetic proclamation found in Haggai 2:11-13, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Ask now the priests for a ruling: If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ Then Haggai said, ‘If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?’ And the priests answered and said, ‘It will become unclean.’” The basic emphasis in this statement is that it is easier to produce defilement than to cleanse and correct defilement. Touching something unclean with something clean does not produce cleansing. Touching something clean with something unclean does produce defilement. This is a physical analogy that, when applied to man’s moral condition, must be handled with appropriate sensitivity and care. Neither the morally defiled nor the morally pure are automatically altered by exposure to one another. However, it appears, by the intention of these words and by practical experience, that, sadly, it is more challenging for the morally pure to produce “fruit after their kind” than for the morally impure to produce “fruit after their kind.”
Recognizing this fact, sheds very intense light on God’s reaction in Genesis 6:5-6 where it reads, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Man’s condition and the challenge of restoring man from his great defilement were not taken lightly by God. The rapid, downward spiral that entangles individuals, families (as godly, righteous leadership and authority give way to selfish irresponsibility), institutions and nations is much more powerful than most people realize. Two extremes tend to pervert and misrepresent the reality and intensity of the spread of moral evil. One moves the concept of sin and evil outside the realm of moral agency by suggesting or overtly claiming that the entire human race became guilty and sinful as an automatic result of Adam’s sin. The other lowers the bar regarding the nature of sin and wickedness by accepting sinful behavior as relatively normal human conduct because it has become the status quo. In both aforementioned cases, little effort is made to combat the ravages of sin. To deal with the presence of sin, we must make a serious effort to understand the type of moral wickedness with which we are actually dealing; the type of entanglement that manifests itself as society breaks down and disintegrates. I am amazed when seeing pockets of people within the church assuming that simply “touching” the unclean with a positive, uplifting message will make them clean. This type of undiscerning, immature underestimation will prove destructive and, even, deadly. Moral defilement must not be taken lightly!
Finally, it is fitting to summarize much of what has been stated in this closing section by making reference to the idea of determinism. Many people, whether carefully or haphazardly considered, have a view that assumes that God is exalted by ascribing to Him total control of all that happens in every event and circumstance. Often referred to as meticulous providence / sovereignty, this is very difficult to defend Biblically. It leads to “explaining away” certain clear statements and teaching in Scripture. It also eliminates (though there are efforts made to say that it does not) man’s moral freedom and responsibility. As well, it creates confusion about God’s character as we try to understand why He would cause people to sin and then judge them for the sin He caused them to commit.
It would be beneficial for the body of Christ to maintain a greater sensitivity to the various modes of government exercised by God. We would benefit if we were to distinguish between moral and physical law, the realm of moral government and providential government (both applicable but distinct in God’s involvement in human history), and if we were to better understand and teach issues related to moral agency. Often, we are too quick to lock into a prevailing mode and evaluate everything through one limited, and consequently, distorted lens. It is my hope that this chapter offers some degree of clarification or, at least, inspiration for the reader to investigate such issues more deeply on his or her own.
 This use of “prophetic” is simply in reference to spiritually and morally insightful analysis.
 This is not an indictment against the morally pure regarding their impotence or inability but rather a commentary on the responses to the efforts and influences of the morally pure as they “touch” the world around them.