“For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
you will be neither barren
The New King James Version does not translate an essential word in this verse – the word “appoint.” If we possess and abound in the seven character qualities of verses 5-7, God will “appoint” you or constitute you so that you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ. This phrase is a promise from God.
The word “appoint” means to set down, set in order, or to constitute (Ac 7:10,27,35; He 7:28; Ro 5:19). God sets up an order for us to bear fruit. He is the cause of whether we bear fruit or not. In this sense, we can translate “appoint” as “make.” We will not be “made useless” and unfruitful if we follow the prescribed conditions of verses 5-7. It is God’s grace that makes growth possible. God will constitute in us a change produced by living out the seven qualities of verses 5-7.
“Barren” comes from two words, no and work. “Barren” carries the ideas of unemployed, idle, nothing to do, useless, or unproductive. Faith multiplied will produce fruit; non-faith will deliver nothing. Matthew uses “barren” for men standing “idle” in the marketplace.
Mt 20:3-6, “And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 “and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 5 “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?'”
God promises that He will constitute believers with His character qualities to be productive and effective in their lives.
God promises that people with godly character will be productive and effective in what they do for Him. However, an idle Christian is a carnal Christian, barren of effective living for God. We will give account to God for the smallest of issues before God.
Mt 12:36-37, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
A “barren” or “idle” Christian is unemployed and disengaged from biblical virtues. This person does not realize that God called him into full-time character building, 24 hours a day.
Idle people have too much time on their hands, so they become tattlers and busybodies. Troublemakers in the church are often those who are inactive.
1 Ti 5:13, “And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.”
Ti 1:12, “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons [King James translation translates this as a “slow belly”].'”
Are you a “slow belly?” A retarded Christian is a problem Christian. Many Christians have a case of arrested spiritual development. They never grow beyond a certain point. They do not go on with the Lord.