Fruit Sins and Root Sins

Dr. Ab AbercrombieRoots

In his Bible study entitled, “Behold Your God”, Dr. John Snyder provides an excellent teaching on “fruit sins” and “root sins” which has special relevance to the practice of biblical counseling. Within the study, Snyder emphasizes the importance of true repentance that reaches to the heart of one’s deepest spiritual condition so that character and identity are literally changed.

Fruit sins are defined as the behavioral expressions of an inner heart condition. As Scripture relates, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident…” (Gal 5:19a): they are obvious. Like apples hanging from a tree, these expressions of sin are dependent upon the root. In other words, an apple tree cannot produce pears nor an orange tree avocados. Consequently, removing the obvious fruit will not change the identity of the tree.

In human terms, the modification of behavior does not change the character of a man or woman. Only by impacting the root can the fruit be altered. Jesus taught this truth plainly, saying:

“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit” (Matt 7:16-18).

Since fruit sins are visible, repentance often centers only upon what has been revealed or discovered. When a husband is caught in pornography he repents for what has been found out. When a wife’s excessive spending becomes apparent when hidden bank statements are exposed, she is sorry for the consequences of her actions. Both the husband and wife may then strive to stop their individual expressions of sin, and for a season, may be successful. But unless the heart issues are addressed (root sins), the behavior will likely return in its original or modified form.

This type of repentance is superficial and fails to address the true depth and scope of the spiritual problem. At the root of these issues there lies a much more insidious problem that is grounded in one’s identity, integrity, and character. Many of the most common and compromising root sins include idolatry, unbelief, selfishness, pride, unforgiveness, anger, wrath, and bitterness. Until the fullness of the heart is addressed, these core vulnerabilities will continue to yield behavioral sin.

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The Theology of Experience: The Deceptive Support of Psychiatric Medications

By: Dr. W.P. “Ab” AbercrombieMan holding head b & w

In a recent blog on the CCEF website, faculty member and author Dr. Ed Welch asks an important question for all biblical counselors: Can We Be Positive About Psychiatric Medications?” (Welch, 2012). In answering this critical question, one would assume the author’s first reference would be Scripture. Regrettably it is not. Secondly, one would assume a review of scientific research. But again, this does not exist.

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The Danger of Relying on Emotions…

 

By: Pastor Larry Creamer & Dr. Ab AbercrombieWoman dazed

In a recent seminar entitled, “The Dangers of Relying on Our Emotions,” two questions were posed to the group before the instruction began: “What was the emotion you experienced most strongly today” and “What emotion do you struggle with the most on a day-to-day basis?” Take into consideration the group was comprised of committed Christians, church leaders and staff, and most were either graduates or students within a biblical counseling program.

The result of this inquiry was interesting indeed, if not startling. Answers were submitted anonymously and totaled by the instructor. Out of the 31 responses, only eight conveyed a positive emotion as the dominant feeling of the day. Most reported included joy, peace, thankfulness, and happiness.

The 23 remaining answers were surprisingly negative. Frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, stress, shame, and regret were the dominant themes.  How, we asked, could the Body of Christ, be so miserable? How in the presence and provision of our Lord and Savior could these feelings become the central experiences of a routine day of living?

The apostle Paul wrote:

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).

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