Pay special attention to the last paragraph. For years I went on with my christian walk thinking Romans 7:2-3 had something to do with my marital status. That is until, He got hold of my spiritual ignorance and corrected my thinking. There is so much depth to these verses that I found it mind blowing. I also felt in love with the depth of Paul's life with God because he could not have written this so poetically by himself.
"From Me is your fruit found." Hosea 14:8
But I believe there is a desire in every soul under divine teaching, to bring forth fruit, to come out of the world and the things that are of the world, to walk in God's fear, and to have some testimonies that he is accepted, that he is a saved soul, and that he has a saving interest in the atoning blood of the Son of God. And all through a Christian's life wherever the Spirit moves, wherever the Spirit operates upon that man's heart and conscience, there will be a desire to bring forth fruit; and this is a mark and test of being one of God's family. A profession does not put us into Christ—mere head knowledge does not put us into Christ—talking and chattering do not put us into Christ—none of the works of man give us a birth and being in Christ, and a title to receive out of the fullness of Christ. Therefore, from first to last, beginning, middle, and end it is all of sovereign grace, of the work and workmanship of the Holy Spirit in the heart and conscience.
If a soul is living under the operation of the Holy Spirit, under this communication and influence, there is a breaking out and a breathing after bringing forth fruit. How that godly man Habakkuk stood upon the watchtower and his soul was grieved within him because there were those that stirred up strife and grievances. How he grieved and groaned not only because the Lord did not hear his prayer, but because he himself did not bring forth fruit. When we see that leanness, that being content to drag on a life without any communion, real faith, hope, or love—we may be sure that the love of God is not there. The people of God may sink very low, but there are those breathings after God that make them live to his praise and honor.
Now, when they begin to long to bring forth fruit they begin to see what fruit is, for none can see what fruit is but the saints of God. All men do not know what fruit is, and until a man knows what it is he cannot bring it forth. For instance, here is a man who does not go to the races, nor to balls or parties—but goes to church and pays his debts. O what a good man he thinks he is; he says his prayers at night, and makes sure of going to heaven. The man is blind as a gnat, dead as a door nail, and his heart is hard as adamant. He does not know what real Christianity is. He gives food to the poor at Christmas, subscribes to charities and missions, and thinks what wonderful things he is doing. The man has not his eyes open to see what true Christianity is and what real Christian fruit is.
When a child of God begins to see what fruit is and that it must be spiritual—the first thing he sees is that "natural fruit" is not accepted by God. If I gave an order for a basket of fruit because I was expecting a friend to dine with me, and the grocer sent me a basket of weeds, crab-apples, or rotten oranges, I would think he was insulting me. And so if a man has not sufficient knowledge to distinguish between all the rottenness of 'human production' and good fruit, he will find that the Lord is not a God to be mocked, but that the only fruit which is acceptable in his sight must be spiritually produced by union and communion with Jesus Christ.
And I wish that you who profess religion, and who may have it to some extent, would pray for a clearer view of what fruit is, for then, instead of being puffed up with pride, you would see that there was little else in you but thorns and briars.
Now, this is what the soul must know—that all fruit is produced by union and communion with Christ. You will find that subject opened up in the seventh chapter of Romans, where we read of being 'married to Christ'. So if a man is not married to Christ and does some good things, humanly speaking, they are only 'bastard fruit'. All fruit that is not produced by marriage to Christ is not legitimate fruit. As in nature where children are born out of wedlock, they are the offspring of adultery, and as such will bear the stamp of their parents, and cannot take part in the inheritance of the father; so a person may bring forth fruit, but if that fruit is not legitimate, God will stamp it with bastardy, and will not allow it to take part in the inheritance of his family. And, therefore, fruit is not of our works. The gift of a few dollars, or a few times going to chapel or church will not produce it; it is deeper than this.