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Seed, Root, Fruit of Sin

by Norman P. Grubb

In Africa, I learned this: That sin has three forms—seed, root, and fruit. “The enemies sowed tares among the wheat.” “The root of bitterness springing up defiles many.” “The motions of sin which bring forth fruit in the flesh.” Seed, root, and fruit.

Now notice this difference: seed and root are invisible; fruit is visible. So there are forms of sin which go on inside us, if we let them, which are invisible. If they are left there they inevitably produce their public fruit. Seed and root produce fruit. Now the point of it is this. When Satan drops a seed into my heart, a seed of temptation to which maybe I begin to respond, I can pick the seed out quickly. That’s resisting the devil. A seed is easy to pick out, but if it becomes a root, you have a bit more of a job. You have harder pulling to get a root out than to get a seed out.

Of course, if it has become fruit, it has become public and the glory of God has been publicly smeared then.

So I’ve learned that difference—that where people were learning to walk sensitively and closely with Jesus, they jumped on sin in its seed form. I received a blessing out of that. They didn’t let it root down. Whether it was impurity, or resentment, or covetousness, they recognized, “Here, this thing which is illicit has come into my heart. My natural desire to have things, or my sex desire—or whatever you like—my natural desire is being deflected in the wrong direction. Here, I’m going to hate that thing! I’ve no business to like that. I cut it off by the grace of God. In the name of Jesus I cut it off.” Satan flees then. I’ve pulled it out in seed form before it roots down and produces fruit. That’s the way.

So you see what we’re to have, to understand the balanced life, is this: We’re never going to be free from deflection. We’re never going to be free from having our natural faculties and appetites deflected in this wicked world. And we’re going to be free from the sudden deflection to resent a person, or a sudden enticement to doubt God, or to fear, or sudden enticement to pride. I know that all right, don’t you? A sudden enticement to sex or a sudden enticement to whatever you like—laziness—whatever you like. You’re never going to be free. An enticement isn’t wrong because I’ve these natural appetites, and they’ve just been suddenly deflected by something or other in another direction. The wrong comes if I continue in them. If I immediately counter that and immediately say, “Hello, I have an illicit desire there. Out with you! I’ll not have any illicit desire remaining in my heart.” Then, God gives the victory.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “Temptation”