Every sinner who trusts Christ's promise of forgiveness is like the sycamore tree that, year after year, resisted attacks by bugs and worms. At times its bark peeled, its branches drooped, its leaves appeared pale, spotty, and tattered. But at its heart, the tree remained living and strong. Its sap flowed, and its seed pods dropped in due season.
On the other hand, the good-doer whose hope is based on his own works is like the tree whose bark remained smooth, its branches stiff, its leaves whole and green. One day a strong breeze blew the tree over. Only then did that tree reveal the rotten, hollow deadness at its core.