1 ¶ I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 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. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 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. 5 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. 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. 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.
Jesus continues to teach as they walk. He uses a figure of speech discussed previously to liken Himself to a vine with God the Father being the type of ‘farmer’ who cares for the vine. Notice the Spirit uses the word purgeth not the word you would expect, as found in Leviticus 25:3, 4 and in Isaiah 5:6, prune. God promises to purge Israel and Judah from its idolatry in 2Chronicles 34:3. Pay notice to these Psalms.
Psalm 51:1 ¶ « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. » Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 ¶ Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 ¶ Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
…and David and Bathsheba’s baby died.
Psalm 65:3 Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
Psalm 79:9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.
This purging is a much more painful process to us than merely being pruned. There is often a degree of pain involved. Your trials and suffering have a purpose and your sanctification, being set apart by God for His purpose, while difficult often to enjoy, is absolutely necessary. So, embrace your suffering and your trials. They are part of God’s purging process.
What is the fruit you are to bear, like a pleasant fruit tree? Notice it does not say gather, but bear. It is listed as plainly in the New Testament as the nose on our faces.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
We are cleansed, purged from impurity, by the words that Christ spoke. We abide in Him and He abides in us. We are branches, growing from the vine, planted and cared for by the husbandman. Without the vine we can do nothing. Without Christ and His words in us we cannot bear this fruit. Those who will not bear fruit are likened to dead branches to be cast into the fire. It is odd but I don’t see paranoia, fear, hatred, and controlling others on that list of fruit.
Read Isaiah 27 as the Lord Himself promises to take action for Israel.
Isaiah 27:9 By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.
What did God really want from the Old Testament Jew?
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Jesus summed up the Old Testament when talking to a Pharisee, who was a lawyer;
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We have only to look at the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew 5 and the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ in Luke 6 and in Paul’s letters such as Romans, chapter 12, 1Corinthians 13, and 1Thessalonians 5 to see what is required of us.
Listed in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 6, the first in the list of the doctrines of Christ is, “repentance from dead works.” That is, the very first thing you must do to come to Christ is to change your mind and reject what you were depending on to justify you, to get you to Heaven. That is your own righteousness, your own works, which are dead. We are to depend on Christ’s righteousness, not our own for eternal life. Remember that He is speaking to Jews still under the Law who can lose their salvation, not the Jewish and Gentile Christians after the resurrection. These Jews live under the same threat as in Ezekiel 33:13.
Ezekiel 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
John the Baptist demanded of the Pharisees and Sadducees;
Matthew 3:7 ¶ But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet [worthy, see Luke 3:8 for worthy substituted for meet] for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
The person who depends on his own righteousness gets one chance.
James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Those of us who trust in Christ are being purged of their sin and are being made to be useful to Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the proof of that working in us. We will produce fruit and we will be purged to produce even more. The more you submit to Christ through His words in His Book the less painful this purging may be. If only I had been taught this lesson long ago.
Do Christ’s words abide in you?