“”If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” John 15:6
There are those who never were in the Vine Jesus and so these are seen as useless branches whose only use is to put into the fire to burn. This verse raises the question if some branches who were in the Vine Jesus were “cut off” because they were fruitless (John 15:2). In this case we would have to see the branches not true believers but those that were formally connected through outward profession to the Vine Jesus but HIS life was never in them.
The LORD Jesus warns us of such a reality when HE says:
“”Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'”And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” Matthew 7:21-23
So there can be those who profess faith in the LORD Jesus, even do miracles in HIS name, but who never bear the fruit of character transforming love which is the fruit of KNOWING HIM. Their hearts are still lawless and filled with rebellion even when they outwardly preach and minister in the name of the Messiah Jesus. Without love, nothing they do profits them for they never had a personal relationship with Jesus the LORD. Judas is of course the perfect example of this type of formal relationship which is really without life. Such people do not lose their salvation for the Messiah Jesus says that he “never knew them”. Christ Jesus has taught that HE does not lose any of HIS true sheep.
“”My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”” John 10:27-30
The Messiah Jesus most likely had Ezekiel 15:1-8 in mind as HE taught these words.
“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? “Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? “If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything? “Behold, while it is intact, it is not made into anything. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it still be made into anything! “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘As the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I set My face against them. Though they have come out of the fire, yet the fire will consume them. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them. ‘Thus I will make the land desolate, because they have acted unfaithfully,'” declares the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 15:1-8
Jerusalem, would again be facing destruction by fire by the Romans in 70 AD due to their rejection and murder of the Messiah. So what happened with the Babylonians will happen again as the legions of Rome bury Jerusalem because of her sins. So Lord Jesus’ teaching has both personal and corporate warning to it.
Now the Messiah Jesus is teaching clearly that HE is the way, the truth, and the life and no one can be in fellowship with the Father but through HIM (John 14:6). This seems hard to believe that there is such a narrow way to have eternal life and salvation. The reason is that we are worst then we think we are and outside of the LORD Jesus we cannot produce any true works of unconditional love. Each of us are radically and massively moral failures. As the Apostle Paul teaches reflecting on Psalm 51:1-6 and Psalm 14:1-7.
“as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:10-20
So because the Lord is just HE will render to everyone what their lives deserve, but what I deserve justly and rightly is to be thrown as a fruitless branch into the fire of hell forever. This is true of me and of all humanity.
So I am in desperate need of a Savior to forgive our sins and a regeneration of my heart that I might produce real words, actions, and attitudes of love. The LORD Jesus is that suffering Savior that has paid the price of my moral failures by bearing the just wrath of God for them on the cross and now as the risen LORD and Messiah can grant me forgiveness and an abundant life in union and communion with HIM. I can be by HIS grace a fruitful branch sharing HIS LOVE in words and deeds to the entire world.
But outside of a living relationship with Jesus there is only despair, death, and destruction. The most vital issue of my life is “Do I know HIM?” Paul will urge the Corinthian believers to “”Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
So it is vital that I test and examine myself to try to ensure my soul that I have a real relationship with the Living Christ Jesus for this is the most critical concern of my life. The Apostle Paul will tell us:
“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”” 2 Timothy 2:19
So while the LORD alone knows exactly who are HIS true branches I can by abstaining from wickedness and seeking to purify myself as HE is pure, demonstrate my living relationship with HIM by faith. May I keep this reality always fresh in my mind.
LORD, let me know the truth as YOU know the truth. I don’t want to just imagine that I abide in YOU while the truth is that I am cut off, fruitless, and damned. Assure me through YOUR SPIRIT within me and by bearing fruit through me that I am “IN YOU”. Lord cleanse me and help be bear more abundant fruit today. Maximize my ability to produce words and actions of YOUR perfect love in my life. Allow me to reach my full potential for YOU and YOUR kingdom. Amen