“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2)
Fruit-bearing trees have to be tended to, for the best quantity and quality of fruit to be borne by the tree. Once God has made a person a “good tree,” to make the tree productive, the Husbandman of the tree (or vine) must carry out a process called “purging.”
This process is carried out in two steps. First is the cutting off of the branches that no longer bear any fruit. Second, the Husbandman trims back the branches that bear fruit, the productive branches. This will initiate new growth, which will bring more fruit on the new branches. “… He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
Christ takes this metaphor and uses it to explain the operation of Christ (the Living Word) in a “good tree” (or in one born of God), which brings about a washing and cleansing. (Verse 3) “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (See John 6:63.)
God’s Word brings about:
- A Conviction through the Holy Spirit’s application of the Law, where the Law reveals the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20; 7:4-14); which bring about Godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
- Repentance leads to Confession: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)
- Then confession brings about Communion with God (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
- And communion brings on Commitment. (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1-2; Philippians 3:7-14; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.) See 1 John 2:5-6, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. (6) He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” Also see Luke 14:26-33; which brings about Actions.
The health of the tree is what produces the fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. However, the tree cannot produce the fruit unless the Husbandman does His job of purging.
John records what Jesus stated as fact concerning His work in the sinner to bring them to bear “much fruit”:
- Verse 3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” This reveals that the saved sinners must be cleaned by the Word of God. They must be born again of the Spirit of God. Christ is speaking of what would be done in the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost (the New Birth, receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, which the indwelling Holy Spirit is the Gift) as if it were already done. Christ was saying you must be born again, or made clean by My Word (John 6:63).
- Verse 4, “Abide in me, and I in you…” That is, you must dwell in My House, My Body, the Church; to do that you must be baptized by the Spirit into the Body (1 Corinthians 12:13). Verse 4 continues, “… As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Verse 5a proves Christ is the Vine and you are the branches; it is only if you abide in Him and Him in you, that you can bear fruit, “I am the vine, ye are the branches…”
- Verse 5b, “…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit…” Therefore, Christ states the fact that you must be in this position in Him and He in you, for you to bear much fruit. Here “abiding” is synonymous with the New Birth.
So Christ said, I have done My job; I have given you the New Birth; you have been born of the Spirit. Thus you are clean, and in a position (“abiding”) in Him and Him in you. However, in this position of being “in Christ and Him in you,” called “clean” and “abide”; there is a walk of faith by the believer; a progressive walk of Sanctification. There are responsibilities in this position of abiding in Christ and Christ in you.
First, it is a conscience dwelling by the believer in Christ; to be in His Presence, and to receive the engrafted Word of God (James 1:21). Second, in this position, the believer will submit to and obey His Lord and Master’s Commandments. Thirdly, the believer in this position will bow to God’s sufficiency and acknowledge his own helplessness, his own insufficiency; apart from the grace, mercy, love, and power of God, the Head of the House. Fourth, in his position, the believer will submit and follow Ephesians 5:21-33 as the Bride of Christ, His Body, even the Church.
Then, and only then, will the believer bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. John 15:5c, “…for without me ye can do nothing.” So you must be clean, in the position of abiding (which is a position of being in Christ and indwelt by Christ) and submitting and obeying the responsibility of this position. This is what makes the tree healthy, and produces both quality fruit and a great quantity of fruit.
The question is: How is your spiritual health? It can be measured:
- In the degree of fruit that you bear; fruit, more fruit, and much fruit.
- And in where you are abiding: In Him, in His House, His Body, the Church. (Are you abiding in His Presence, beholding His Glory (John 17:21-26)?)
- And in the success of your prayer life (John 15:7-8).