More Fruit or No Fruit?

John 15:1-2,6 ESV

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every 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.”

“If 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.”

Basically, what we need to comprehend here is the truth of the gospel of our salvation. We need to understand that Jesus did not die that horrible death on that cross just to forgive us our sins and so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. Jesus died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery (addiction) to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, no longer living under the control of sin and Satan.

And by faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And now we are to walk no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit in righteousness and holiness, in obedience to our Lord Jesus.

But this isn’t optional. We don’t “get saved” and then we are good to go until we die and go to heaven. Jesus said if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. In essence, what he said was that if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self that we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin) then we have life eternal with him.

And then we need to understand that what that all translates to is that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin after making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and if obedience to our Lord and walking in righteousness are not what we practice, unless we turn from those sinful ways to walk in obedience to our Lord and in his righteousness, we will not inherit eternal life with God but we will face the wrath of God.

Now this is not saying that we will never sin (1 Jn 2:1-2) or that if we do sin even once that we are going to die and go to hell. But what the Scriptures do teach is that we must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh in deliberate and habitual sin, we will die in our sins. But if we walk according to the Spirit, we will have eternal life with God.

So, basically, the gospel provides the way for us to be forgiven of our sins and to be delivered out of our slavery (addiction) to sin and to have the hope of heaven when we die provided that we die with Christ to sin and we live to God and to his righteousness, in practice, by God’s grace, in God’s strength and power, as we cooperate fully with God’s work of grace and salvation in our lives, and until the very end of time.

If we do, we will bear spiritual fruit (produce, outgrowth, results) in our lives, and all we will need is to be pruned so that we will bear even more fruit. But if we do not, and if we continue living in sin and not in righteousness, then our Lord will remove us, and we will be thrown away, and we will be thrown into the fire and burned. Like Jesus said, not everyone saying to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into God’s eternal kingdom but only the ones DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23).

[Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; Rom 8:1-17; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Gal 5:16-21; Col 1:21-23]

John 15:3-5 ESV

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide 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. I 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.”

Now Jesus was talking with his disciples who believed in him in truth and that is why they were already spiritually clean. This does not imply that everyone professing faith in Jesus Christ is spiritually clean just because they claim to believe in Jesus. We must daily by the Spirit be putting the deeds of the flesh to death and we must be walking in holiness and in obedience to our Lord for us to have salvation and eternal life with God.

But then we must continue to die with Christ to sin, and we must continue to walk with him in obedience to his commands, and we must remain steadfast in these walks of faith until the very end if we are to receive salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For our salvation is progressive and it will not be completed until Jesus returns for his bride. For if we return to our vomit, and we then keep on in deliberate and habitual sin, we will die in our sins.

And that is what this is talking about here. For abiding in Christ means remaining and continuing in him and in his word, and in his salvation, and in obedience to his commands, and in submission to him as Lord, and in saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and in living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return. It means our lives are surrendered to Jesus Christ to doing his will day by day by day.

For, if we do not abide in Christ, and him in us, and his word in us, and us in his word, then we can’t bear fruit in keeping with repentance and for his eternal kingdom. And thus we will be thrown into the fire and burned, and we will hear Jesus say to us one day, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” For not everyone who says to Christ, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only those obeying him.

[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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