I AM THE TRUE VINE
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
In this speech, Lord Jesus warns us to remain always in voluntary communion with Him, in order to receive God’s favor and attain salvation.
He tells us that He Himself is the trunk of the vine tree; the life-giver, which holds the roots and from which all fruit bearing branches subsists. Lord Jesus calls us to remain faithful to Him, not only in faith, but in obedience.
Many modern theologians tend to neutralize the urgency of this section, but assuming that the branches which do not produce due fruit, were never chosen to remain forever, and so they never did have the Holy Spirit and never were in real communion with Christ.
However, the call of Jesus here to ‘remain’ in Him, it is given because it depends entirely on our decision to persevere in faith and obedience. If perseverance was a matter of arbitrary election, this speech will not be ‘a call’ to perseverance, but a sarcastic remark, hurtful for the non-elect; telling them in their faces that they will not persevere for they have not been wanted by God to be saved; and it would be pointless for us, since we will remain anyway, for God has decided so for us.
The only way this speech attains its purpose, is by us, acknowledging the imperative need to remain faithful (Remain in the branch, through faith); and produce fruit (Through obedience).
If we do remain faithful and obedient, God the Father, will perfect us in time, according to the image of Jesus (Ephesians 4:13); but if we stop obeying Christ, or even worse, abandon the faith altogether, we will be cut off from Jesus, and be condemned forever (John 15:6).
To remain in communion with God, through Jesus Christ, his Son; it is an act made possible by God’s Grace, which made the whole atonement possible, and granted us enough common Grace to listen and decide; but the decision, every day, to follow Jesus, it is an act of our free will, from which only us are entirely responsible, and therefore, promoters of the final consequence of our decisions.
Finally, Lord Jesus tells us, that those who are faithful to our Lord, all his prayers are answered.
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