John 15 ““I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned”
Does this passage mean that a Christian can lose salvation if we’re not fruitful enough?
Let us understand the context to remove all such fear:
First of all Jesus was speaking to Jews before the cross, when they were still under the Law.
He was stating the difference between believers and unbelievers.
- The believer was already clean because of faith in the Word of Christ.
- But the unbeliever would be cast out of the vine if they didn’t bear the fruit of faith.
How do we know that the warning was only for unbelievers?Jesus was speaking to the Jews who were God’s covenant people for 1500 years before the cross when Israel was God’s vineyard and they were expected to bear fruit (by faith in Christ).
But what did they do? They saw Jesus for 3.5 years and then saw the Apostles for 40 years and yet they rejected the Gospel – and were destroyed in the Roman-Jewish wars from 66-136AD.
Jesus prophesied this would happen here:
Matthew 21 “33 “Hear another parable. There was a man who was a master of a household who planted a vineyard, set a hedge about it, dug a wine press in it, built a tower, leased it out to farmers, and went into another country. 34 When the season for the fruit came near, he sent his servants to the farmers to receive his fruit. 35 The farmers took his servants, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first; and they treated them the same way. 37 But afterward he sent to them his son, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But the farmers, when they saw the son, said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard, then killed him. 40 When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?” 41 They told him, “He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will lease out the vineyard to other farmers who will give him the fruit in its season.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner. This was from the Lord. It is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you, God’s Kingdom will be taken away from you and will be given to a nation producing its fruit. 44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it will fall, it will scatter him as dust.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke about them.“
These unbelievers were cast out of the kingdom of God because of unbelief. They did not bear the fruit of faith in Christ.
The only way to bear fruit is to “die to the law” (stop trusting in the Law) and believe in Jesus as Paul said here:
Romans 7 “4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you would be joined to another, to him who was raised from the dead, that we might produce fruit to God.”
Therefore God’s kingdom was taken away from unbelieving Israel and given to the Gentile believers who have been bearing fruit for 2000 years by faith in Christ.
To “abide” in Christ means to believe in Him – it’s a one-time response of faith to the gospel of grace.
Israel was part of the vine until the cross but were cast out because of their unbelief.
Today an unbeliever is already outside the vine.
But what does Jesus say to believers?
John 5:24 “24 “Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
The believer has come out of death into ETERNAL LIFE – that’s eternal salvation, we cannot die anymore. We are permanently in the vine and His life is flowing through us.We have already borne fruit by faith in Christ – we have eternal life. We cannot lose it.
John 10 “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.””
Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father keep us safe in their hands – eternally secure!