Maybe a story would help us work out some thoughts regarding the fruit of one's faith, their standing with Jesus, legalism vs grace, etc...(a parable in the works...for all readers)
There once was a farmer who had several fruit trees on his land. The trees that were prized the most were Orange trees. It was easy to tell the orange trees from all the other trees because they looked so different. All the other trees were apple trees, but of differing varieties. Some bore red apples, some green, all of different sizes and shapes. The orange trees really stood out from all the other trees with their orange fruit.
Soon the local farmer's association would be coming by to judge the best fruit farm in the area. The farmer had always wanted to win this prize, and came close several times, but always failed somehow. This year, he knew he would win...all of his trees had large ripe fruit on them, especially the orange trees.
One day the farmer noticed a tree that had no fruit on it off in the distance. He went to see what was wrong with it and noticed it had small buds, but had never matured to bear fruit. He knew he could not leave a tree barren for the judging...still, this tree was not in plain site. It was far off from the main path that would be walked. The farmer went and purchased some oranges at the local market. He found the best oranges money could buy...those that pleased the eye.
The next day, the judges from the local farmer's association were walking the farmer's property. They marveled at the trees and their fruit. But one judge noticed something funny off in the distance. As he approached this one particular orange tree, he noticed that the oranges were all hanging on the limbs by string. One by one the judges starting taking the oranges down until the whole tree was barren.
One of the judges looked at the farmer and asked, "so what kind of tree is this?"
The farmer replied, "I don't really know, but surely it wants to be an orange tree since that is what looks the best."
"Why did you hang fruit on it", the judge asked.
"It didn't have any fruit of it's own, so I wanted to make it look like all the others." said the farmer. " I guess since it doesn't bear it's own fruit, and won't accept fertilizer or weather, I should just cut it down."
(I invite you to offer the ending line or pharagraph in your comments...)