He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.Luke 13:6-9
To get the best understanding of the parables of Jesus, they cannot be taken out of context. This parable is spoken by our Lord immediately after he told natural Jews that there was a national judgment coming against Jerusalem. He told them that they would perish under the rubble of Jerusalem if they did not repent of their self-justification and see Jesus as the Messiah.
With the historical context in mind, we can make proper application of this text in the life of a child of God. This text is not teaching that God will destroy us in eternal hell if we do not bring forth fruits of good works. The historical application was a timely judgment. Therefore, the application to disciples today also concerns timely chastisement.
If fruit does not come, chastisement will.
The parable shows us that God is longsuffering. It also shows us the work that Jesus does as our Advocate with the Father (1st John 2:1) while we dwell here in time. We repeatedly turn away from God. So, why does God not immediately destroy us? Because He is longsuffering toward us and Jesus advocates that He will “work on us” to bring about the needed fruit.
The best place to be nurtured by Jesus is in church where His word is preached and righteous instruction is found.