13910 Lyons Valley Road Suite A, Jamul CA 91935
Phone: (888) 602-3456
Phone: (888) 602-3456
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
Christ is the Living Vine. In Him, all spiritual blessings of life and grace reside. As the covenant Surety of God’s elect, Christ is the Life of His people from everlasting. Then at God’s appointed time, as branches in a vine bloom in their season, the lives of God’s children are made manifest by faith, exactly according to God’s election of grace in divine predestination. Christ is also the Fruitful Vine. By His obedience unto death as the sinners’ Substitute, all the fruits of righteousness belong to Him. Faith, love, joy and peace are the fruitful result of His agonies and blood on the cross. And Christ is the True Vine, because Christ is the Truth, and all of God’s promises in Him are faithful and true. God’s people bear fruit as we abide in Christ and He in us by His word and the power of His spirit. As the True Vine, full of grace and truth, Christ is the object and source of all our joy and blessedness. Fruitful branches hang dependently on the Vine, receiving all their life and nourishment from Christ alone (Col 2:19). The fruit we bear is not our own, but the fruit of the Vine. Believers can do nothing without Christ (vv 4-5). Only as we abide in Him and He in us do we bring forth fruit. It’s the fruit of His Spirit, the result God’s effectual grace working in us through the words of our Savior. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal 5:22). All of these blessings of life and godliness are freely given us in Christ, through the knowledge of Him. They’re given us through exceeding great and precious promises whereby believers partake of the divine nature (2 Pet 1:1-4). We taste and see for ourselves that the Lord is gracious! (Ps 34:8; 1 Pet 2:3). We partake in the experience of His grace as we know Him that is true, believing His words, relying on His faithful promises; like this one: “Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24).
God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility
Nothing better illustrates God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility than our Savior’s words: “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (v 5). We cannot give ourselves spiritual life. Except Christ abide in us, we are dead and fruitless. He must quicken us and sustain us, abiding in us by His sovereign, irresistible power and grace. He must perform a mighty work of sovereign grace in us by divine regeneration. He also must keep us by sovereign grace through renewing us by His Spirit. And, we cannot bear fruit to God except we abide in Him, believing His word and relying upon His promises in the obedience of faith. Trusting Christ alone we receive from Him all things freely. The sovereignty of God and man’s responsibility are clear, because the Lord said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (v 4). This truth will always confuse a lost man, but we that are born from above acknowledge the truth of God’s word. We’ve experienced the truth!
The Lord said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away,” referring to the Father’s work as the Husbandman. Obviously, the fruitless branches do not truly abide in the True Vine. The Lord said, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (v 5). These barren branches only profess to be in the Vine, but they do not live in the Vine. They are unregenerate. Christ does not live and abide in them by the power of His grace, and they do not abide in Him by faith. Their lack of spiritual fruit is proof to God the Father. He sees all and searches every heart. He sees in them no fruit of joy in believing, no peace or communion with God, no love for God’s word or His people. There is no living union with the Son of God. It’s evident by their proud independence from the grace of Christ. They do not hang upon the Savior’s words, living by His Spirit, feeding upon His promises. They are dry, barren, unfruitful branches. These the Father takes away! Their empty profession eventually withers. “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (v 6). The Savior describes such fruitless branches in another clear illustration. They are thorn-covered hearts in which the word of God is finally choked out. “That which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection” (Luke 8:14).
Every true believer bears fruit. Every branch that bears fruit, the Father purges, that it may bring forth more fruit (v 2). How does the Father purge a believer? The word means to cleanse or prune. The picture is that of a husbandman pruning his vine. Pruning involves cutting away that which would hinder the production and growth of fruit. A farmer trains the branches how to grow and thereby makes them more fruitful. The Father performs this work of grace by faithfully reproving and correcting His people in Christ. He chastens us by His word and through His all-wise, adorable providence. He cuts and trims the branches. He ties and binds us according to His will. He comforts us and teaches us to submit (Ps 23). God cuts us open and exposes the thoughts and intents of our heart. It’s a painful work, but necessary, that we might bring forth fruit unto God (Heb 12:11). What does the Father’s pruning accomplish? “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (v 7). The Father conforms our will to Christ, graciously causing us to bow to His word and to trust and obey. This makes us fruitful, because our Savior is faithful to perform in us all that we ask Him according to God’s word. Day by day, we grow deeper and deeper in utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ; His presence, His words, His grace, His power.