The Vines and Branches

Dr. Townes gives us great insight into the metaphor of the vines and branches. He states, “The foundation of the Christian life is the believer’s union and communion with Christ, which is the central truth of the metaphor of the vine and the branches.”[1]

John 15:1, Christ tells us that He is the true vine and His Father (God) is the vinedresser. Warren Wiersbe explains the vines as, “Believers are branches in “the vine of heaven,” but the unsaved are branches in “the vine of the earth.” The unsaved depend on this world for their sustenance and satisfaction, while believers depend on Jesus Christ. The “vine of the earth” will be cut down and destroyed when Jesus Christ returns.”[2]. Verse 2, is an example of discipleship, where God uses the remaining branches to disciple others to bear fruit. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He cuts off. The phrase “in Me” does not mean the same thing as Paul’s words “in Christ.” Here it is part of the metaphor of the Vine and seems to mean, “every person who professes to be My disciple (a ‘branch’) is not necessarily a true follower.”[3] Comparing verse 2 and 6, we can be assured of eternal security. In both verses, God is taking away the branches that bear no fruit and since those branches are not abiding in Christ, they are cast off into fire to be burned. We can be assured as Christ’s branches that bear fruit; we will never be cast into the fire. Discipleship can be found in verse 4 and 5 as well. It is impossible to be a disciple or make disciples if we are not abiding in Christ. Verse 4 and 5 tells us about salvation. The only way to bear fruit is to abide in Jesus Christ; we cannot save ourselves and no other can save us of our sins. Verse 8 also teaches discipleship. Bearing fruit glorifies the Father, wherein, everyone else will know you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Verse 7 tells us about salvation and as we ask Christ to come into our hearts to save us, “it shall be done.” As Leon Morris states, “The knowledge of God and of Christ is itself eternal life.”[4]

[1] Elmer L.Towns, “Christ the Vine.” The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. Chattanooga, TN.: AMG, 2002. 149.

[2] W. W. Wiersbe, (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Jn 15:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] J. F. Walvoord., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). Vol. 2: The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (325). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[4]  Leon Morris. “Life.” Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1989. 204.


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