What is a branch of the vine?

A branch on the vine of Christ means to be in the community of God, which includes those who are saved and those who are not saved. There are some branches which will always remain on the vine; there are others which are cut off the vine – these are those who may have made a profession of faith but do not truly have enduring faith exemplified by enduring obedience, as well as those who go to church but are not of the church.

Faith is not making a statement, or even having a belief. Faith is holding a belief so strongly that it changes you to act upon it. For instance, if you say you have faith a 50 year old car can make the drive from Miami to Seattle, but you do not try the trip, you don’t have faith, you have a belief. It is when you actually put that faith into action by making such a trip that you show you actually have faith. It is a belief that engenders a changed life, forever. To be saved, one must have faith in the redeeming work of Christ to the end. This faith must engender enduring obedience to God. If it does not, then it is not faith, merely a belief or an emotional experience.

The parable of the vine and branches is recorded in John 15:1-6. But remember that Chapter 15 is a continuation of chapter 14, where He told the disciples He was going away but would return. In Jn 14:19b, “you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” it is evident the believers did not know what to believe at that time. Jesus kept telling them to believe Him or at least the miracles. Most likely some believed and some did not – at that time. When Christ said ‘you are the branches’, He was speaking to people who were listening to Him – some had faith, others did not.

They were clean (John 15:3) because of what Jesus had said and would do. He had told them in chapter 14 that the believers would obey and the unbelievers would not.

In Jn 15:3, Jesus is speaking of a current condition based upon a past event, what He has already spoken. But something that is easy to miss is that He is also speaking of a future event. In John 14:29, Jesus said, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” It is evident in chapter 14 that the disciples do not know what to believe concerning Jesus. He had told them those who loved Him will obey Him, and those who do not obey Him do not love Him. Jesus says they are clean in verse 3, referring to what WILL happen (they will believe) because of what HAS happened (He has told them what will happen). But at this point, the Holy Spirit had not yet come to dwell in and seal the believer. Therfeore, they could lose any righteousness they might have. But those who remained on the vine, those who obeyed His commands, were those who loved Him (John 14:15) and were fruitful. 

As an aside, the ‘you’ in Jn 15:3 is the plural ‘you’ and it may be that God was referring to some of them or to all of them as being clean. Ie. stating a school won a game when in fact, only certain individuals within that group actually played and won the game.

So when Christ said He would cut off branches that do not remain in Him, He was stating that you are only saved if you remain in Him, otherwise you are not saved. You will be threshed like grain and only the true grain will remain, the chaff and weeds will be removed. The grain is those who are saved, while the chaff is those who were part of the community of God, maybe even participated in the work of God, but were never of God.

Matthew 13:24-31 

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”

The only way to be saved is to have faith that does not fail – if it fails, then it was not true faith from God to begin with, because what He started, He will finish.

Romans 8:29-31

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The difference is perspective. From our point of view, we might fail to have enduring faith where once we thought we had faith – but in fact, we had belief, not faith. From God’s perspective, HE KNOWS who will endure – it is those who are saved.


6 Responses

  1. Hmmm…that is a different take on the branches than I recall having heard before. You point out some interesting things.

    The rest of what you have written I have also given a lot of thought to.

    Sadly, too many people have been pronounced “saved” because they have prayed a prayer with “sincerity”. They are not taught that not only is the gate narrow, but so is the way.

    There are verses where Yeshua clearly teaches us that not all who do wonderful things in His name are saved. He does not know them all. This is a very sobering thing to think about.

    Also, there are a place where Shaul/Paul says to test ourselves…to see if we are of the faith. 2 Cor 13:5.

  2. I hope by interesting you mean thought provoking and perhaps even something you might agree with. :)

    I agree with you, entirely too many pastors, preachers and evangelists tell people they need to make some profession of faith and that is sufficient. The problem is, it is and it isnt. If we have faith, we will show it in our lives. It is the faith that saves us. But it is actions, such as making a profession, being baptized, giving up sins, relying on God, that give evidence that we are saved.

    And again you are right. We must test ourselves. We must be relying upon Jesus, not our words or even our deeds, or those of others (such as family). Having words and deeds does not indicate faith. But if we do not have deeds and words, then I believe we are guaranteed to not have faith.

    There are many moral people in church and out of it who will not be with God in heaven. Motivation is critically important. We must do things because we love and fear and respect God. I chose to put those three words for a reason – too many today preach that fear of God is simply awe inspired respect. But I think being afraid of our Father in the way children fear punishment, is a good thing and I believe scriptural. In the same way, we should respect Him and love Him.

  3. Yes, I did mean thought provoking and perhaps even something I might agree with (upon more prayer and study, of course). :)

    I disagree, however, about your use of the word “church” in your comment. I suspect you will actually agree with me when I explain why…although I do get your point and it is a very good and true one.

    Those of us in the true church are saved…otherwise we would not be in the “church”. Sadly, we have come to call the building we gather in…or the organized groups we belong to “church”. The true “church” is the body of Yeshua/Jesus…nothing more…nothing less.

    I assume that you were referring to the groups and buildings that many have mistakenly come to believe is and call the “church”…not to the true church. And yes, you are correct…there are many who are in and out of that so called “church”, who will be lost, spending an eternity in hell…just as there are many (both in and out) who will be saved, spending an eternity in heaven.

    As for fear…there is so much emphasis on the love of Yahweh, that not enough (if anything) is taught about His judgment…or about His loving discipline.

    A lot of believers also tend to forget that there is a coming judgment for them, too. It is just not a judgment regarding salvation. It is a judgment of our works…what we have done for Him and what we have done for ourselves.

    I have glanced at some of your writing and find, at least in what I have read thus far, that it seems to be very solid (biblicaly speaking). You seem to write from the place of wanting to be iron sharpening iron…in the true love of which Yeshua speaks. I appreciate this.

    My Little RV on the Hillside blog is written differently. I write about life and try to incorporate spiritual truths into it wherever I can. I wrote as a way for family and friends to keep up with us, but I also write with a heart for those who would probably never come to a blog like yours.

    Both kinds are needed! I do have a blog that is just about Yahweh/God, but it is not very developed. I am glad that there are people like you who have the time and resources to write more in depth. I will continue to read as I can.

    • Abigal,

      Good! I would want you to study it in the scritures yourself. Don’t take my word for anything about what God has said – be noble like the Bereans and verify it. Definitely pray and be led by the Holy Spirit.

      Yes, you are correct, when I used church in the comment, I was referring to collection of people, saved and unsaved which make up the local congregations, not the True Church which is made up only of believers.

      And yes, the purpose of this blog is to help people grow in Christ, particularly people who claim faith in Christ, but part of its purpose is also to plant God’s word in the lives of people who do not yet love Him. I try ot give practical application to scripture, but evertyhing is based on and refers to scripture or scriptual truths.

      I like reading your blog. In part because I want to live in an RV. :) In part because you show the love of Christ we all need to share.

      Thank you for your kind words, and I pray you and others who read will be blessed by what I feel God wanted me to write.

  4. I am glad that you like reading my blog. Have you been reading it long? How did you find it? (I am always curious about stuff like that.) It isn’t much, but I know that my little can be made much in His hands! That is my hope. I desire to share His true love and to bless others.

    I try to treat others as I would like to be treated. I want to be told the truth…no matter how painful…if that is what I need to hear. However, I want to be loved in that telling and helped to grow, too. I certainly have enough on my side of the street. I don’t need to be pointing fingers at others. I would rather point them to the truth and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting of us all.

    Oftentimes, when I write hard things, it is because I have been there. I am grateful that I saw the truth and I desire to share that so that, hopefully, others will see it, too. Actually, what I hope is to inspire others to get into the Word…to check it out for themselves. NO ONE, not me, not you, not anyone, is above making mistakes in teaching. I pray that I will never write from outside of His truth, but it is always possible. I am, after all, a fallen human. Yes, I am a new creation in Yeshua…but I am still a fallen and very imperfect and fallible human!


    • I’ve been reading it a couple of months now, I suppose. I recall you guys were looking at the possibility of a house for the winter and things didn’t pan out. I found it by using the tag ‘God’ and using tag surfer.

      I too try to treat others as I would like to be treated, and I respect honesty in love above all other character traits. I agree with your outlook about wanting to be told the truth in a loving manner and helped to grow. Its healthy I think. I also prefer to teach truth and let the Holy Spirit speak to them Sometimes, however, I have been used to speak to someone to help them recognize the truth of their words or actions.

      I want people to get into the word also. I agree, I am not someone who does not make mistakes – my wife would be happy to let you know if you asked her! :) I so agree, we are fallen, imperfect creatures. Yet as new creations in Christ/Yehua, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.

      Blessing to you too!

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