What is it that makes the tree look the way it does? What determines if a tree will bring forth healthy fruit or withered fruit? Or no fruit at all? Is it the branches or the bark? Is it the leaves? Is it anything externally on the tree at all? No. It is the health of the tree root. The part that is unseen and buried deep in the earth.
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” (Matthew 12:33 KJV)
Jesus also spoke about a person in an analogy of a tree in Matthew 12 and this is comparing the unsaved person to a saved person. It mentions fruit bearing and some take this verse and then apply it to John 15. But we should not because the context is different in Matthew 12.
God wants salvation and righteousness before God, not of our own works, but through faith in Jesus.
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
(Galatians 2:16 KJV)
So we all have a problem with our hearts, which is our Spirit, our inner man, our “root” until we believe on Christ (John 3:18). It is all about the tree of knowledge of good and evil because we were all born into sin. So Jesus says that we need to “…make the tree good and its fruit good.”
It is important to notice and understand that Jesus did not say to do good works which would be good fruit. Instead He says TO MAKE the “tree” (our root) good and by doing so our fruit would be good. Good fruit bearing is God within flowing outward into our life. God’s righteousness, which He made believers by belief on Christ, is the source of good fruit!
John 15 is not about a believer losing Salvation as some pulpits are teaching these days. The truth is, by using proper context, that John 15 is Jesus telling already eternally saved believers how to bear more fruit. Before John 15 came, John 3:16, John 5:24, John 6:28-29, John 6:37-40, John 10:27-30 and the previous chapter John 14 where it is clear that Jesus tells us that Salvation is by BELIEF ON HIM ALONE. Jesus made it clear that we are saved by believing that He is God, come as The Only Begotten Son, never sinned, died for our sins on the cross, and that this BELIEF ALONE is the only thing God requires of us. That He will never unsave us or lose us. And that no one can take us out of His hands! These Scriptures are in the very same book of John and are Jesus own words. To take one verse (verse 6) from John 15 and turn it into a believer losing Salvation is completely wrong by the books own context and Jesus’ own words!
In John 15, speaking to the disciples, Jesus tells us that He is the vine and we are the branches as believers. Now let us think about that for just a moment. From the very moment of our belief and trust on Christ to save us we are SEALED by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit now indwells the believer forever and we are COMPLETE IN HIM (Colossians 2). Jesus becomes our new root and source of life. Jesus is one with the Father and Holy Spirit and we are IN CHRIST , also now one with God (John 17).
This is very important to understand or you may not see the truth on what Jesus is talking about. Not understanding what the phrase ‘ABIDING IN CHRIST’ actually means is one reason some are teaching that John 15 is about a believer losing their Salvation – which is just not the truth at all.
When we look at the Greek this was penned we find Strong’s Number G3306 which matches the Greek word μένω (menō). This Greek word occurs 127 times in 105 verses in the Greek concordance of the KJV. By comparing the meaning with other passages using the same word, the meaning becomes more clear.
“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there ABIDE G3306 till ye go thence.” (Matthew 10:11 KJV)
“And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there ABIDE G3306 till ye depart from that place.” (Mark 6:10 KJV)
“And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither ABODE G3306 in any house, but in the tombs.” (Luke 8:27 KJV)
We can go on and on looking at such passages using the same Greek word and the meaning is very clear. Abiding is not a work we DO to remain saved. That is the wrong teaching that seems to be rampant in many pulpits teaching the false ‘works for salvation false gospel’. Abiding means WHERE WE LIVE.
In John 15, Jesus is telling BELIEVERS to live IN HIM. To live by The Spirit who God recreated us as by belief on Him (John 3:18). To abide in HIM. Apostle Paul calls this ‘walking by The Spirit’ and not ‘The Flesh’. Once we are ‘ born again ‘ in The Spirit (John 3:3), that is how we should be living by. We have had a heart transplant! Our old Spirit of Man is DEAD and has been reborn into The Spirit Of God (John 3:3, Colossians 2). We need to abide in HIM to produce good fruit from God. Live in Jesus Name!
∴ Verse 2: Every Believer That Does Not Bear Fruit (John 15:2)
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away:…” (John 15:2 KJV)
This verse is not about fruit inspecting a person to see if they are saved or not as many are teaching today! Every branch “in Me”, are already eternally saves believers. Those believers that do not bear fruit “He taketh away”. The Greek word for this is airō. This is usually translated as “to raise up, to elevate, or to lift up”.
Think about a field of vines. Now some branches of the vine may be slouching and even half in the dirt. Wind and tough times have this branch weary and weak, half covered and weighed down in the dirt. What does a person attending to the vines do? Well, this was common practice of a vine care taker, those not bearing fruit he will lift up out of the ground so that it takes to the nutrients better in hopes of bearing more fruit. He will prop it up with sticks to get more sun and nutrients from the vine root. God HELPS them to bear more fruit! As believers, we sometimes receive miraculous help from God, the Vine care taker, in our time of need don’t we?
∴ Verse 2: Every Believer That Bears Fruit (John 15:2)
“…and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2 KJV)
In the Greek, ‘purgeth’ is Strong’s G2508 and is defined as ‘to cleanse’. Such a branch (believer) is not laying in the dirt and God continually cleanses it so that it can bear more fruit. This is where we want to be as believers.
∴ Verse 3: Every Believer Is Saved and Cleaned (John 15:3)
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3 KJV)
What are these words Jesus has spoken to them? By context, the Words in the previous chapters in the book of John that Jesus spoke. Like John 3:14-18, John 6: 39-40, and the very previous chapter of John 14 which are all Jesus telling us that we are saved only by belief on Him – not by our works.
∴ Verse 4 and 5: A Believer cannot do anything pleasing to God by living in The Flesh (John 15:4-5)
“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. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 KJV)
∴ Verse 6: A believer NOT Living By The Spirit of Christ (John 15:6)
This verse has caused massive confusion in the Christian community and led many to believe that Jesus is talking about losing Salvation. But the context is clearly not about salvation! It is about a believer’s fruit bearing. It is about Jesus telling us that believers should be Abiding In Christ. That is, LIVING IN CHRIST. A believer not abiding in Christ is not living by the Spirit of Christ within us. This is a saved person living carnally just like the Corinthians were living. They were saved but walking more by The Flesh than The Spirit of God.
“6 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.” (John 15:3 KJV)
Jesus says that those that do not live in the Spirit of Christ, will ‘wither’. In the Greek the word ‘wither’ is xérainó, meaning ‘to dry up’. They become dry and stale and so they do not bear any fruit at all. What happens to a branch not receiving nutrients from the source? It drys up. It withers. And eventually it is cast off, collected and burnt up as useless.
We need to walk by Christ in us. We need to as Apostle Paul wrote, “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). If we are a saved believer and then we ignore the Spirit and live carnally, our works are useless for the Kingdom! Just as James said, such faith is DEAD, which in Greek is used as as analogy for useless.
What about the burned up part in John 15:6? Some are teaching that God will cut these believers off, they will lose Salvation and be burned for eternity in hell. But is that correct? NO. It cannot be because Jesus in John 14 talks about Salvation by belief on Him alone and John 15 is written to BELIEVERS – not unbelievers.
Look closely at the Scripture words Jesus uses in verse 6! It does not read like this,
WRONG – ‘and GOD WILL gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
That is the lie being taught by so many pulpits these days teaching this is about loss of Salvation. NO. NO. NO… it reads EXACTLY like this,
CORRECT – “..and MEN GATHER THEM, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.“
Men! Not God! Jesus is saying that not living in Christ will be looked at by the unsaved as a believer being a hypocrite. Their teaching and witnessing to others is withered as they are by how they are living. It will cause them to be useless for the kingdom.
Jesus is simply using an analogy here of a well known thing to the Jewish people; and that is running a Vineyard. And this is exactly what they did with old withered and dried up branches. They cut them off so that they do not hurt the entire vine. It is NOTHING more than that! It is not about losing Salvation.
∴ Verse 7-10: Abide in Christ’s Love By Living By Christ’s Words and the Word of God (John 15:7-10)
“7 If ye abide in me, and MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that YE BEAR MUCH FRUIT; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: CONTINUE YE IN MY LOVE. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:7-10 KJV)
This is such encouragement from Jesus. Live by the Spirit of Christ – not The Flesh. Our old Spirit of Man is DEAD. BELIEVE IT! And walk in the new Spirit God made us when we were converted by belief on Christ (John 3:18, Eph. 1:13-14, Romans 6, Colossians 2 and 3).
IF we live in Christ by the New Spirit He made us,we will bear much fruit! And the beauty is, each fruit we bear has many seeds. And each of those seeds produce more fruit! Amen! WOW! What a great God we serve!
∴ Verse 11: John 15 is all about God Wanting Our Joy To Be Full – Not About Salvation Loss!
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that YOUR JOY MAY BE FULL.” (John 15:11 KJV)
The answer comes in Galatians 5 starting at verse 19.
∴ The Bad Fruit Of A Person…
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)
∴ The Good Fruit Of A Person…
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. IF WE LIVE IN THE SPIRIT let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26 KJV)
The goal is to not make yourself look clean on the outside while we are full of sin inwardly, in our inner man and mind. We need to be clean inside and it will work it’s way to your outward man. But we can’t do this ourselves. We need Christ’s forgiveness of sins and we need to read the Word of God to renew our mind to God’s viewpoint, so that the Holy Spirit can change us from within.
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. ” (1 Peter 3:3-4 KJV).
God looks at us inside; not outwardly. It is not what you DO but the motives you have inside that He looks at. Your heart is the real you regardless what is happening outwardly. And we can align our own thinking to what the Holy Spirit is doing in us so that we will bear good fruit as we see in Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK ON THESE THINGS.” (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
Allow Him to change you from the inside out, through the true vine; Jesus Christ. And in time, you will bear the good fruit of God. And it will be your joy, the joy Christ wants for you! Love one another just as God loves and loved you in the blood sacrifice for sins through Christ Jesus. Abide in the words of God. Abide in the words of Jesus and you will learn to say as Paul did,
“For I am notashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 KJV)
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into HIS REST, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1 KJV)