THE TRUE VINE
The ever enduring question of the Christian's eternal security
of this dissertation:
From: Randy Levi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sent: Sun 2/08/09 12:40 AM
Hi Bro. Alvin,
I hope by the grace of God all is well at your end. Thanks so much for
your answers to my previous enquiries. Please i want you to help me
understand JOHN 15 vs 1~8. Especially vs 2$6, are these vs reffering
beleivers? I want to understand the terms, “taketh away and cast forth”. I
also want to know who are these two kind of branches and the effect the
terms is going to have on the friutless ones. Thanks.
From: Randy Levi
Sent: Mon 2/09/09 12:01 PM
To: ALVIN MITCHELL (email@example.com)
Thanks so much for the quick response. As soon as time permits i know am going to hear from you.
Just to introduce myself, I am from Ghana but resident in Italy for the past 17yrs. I am the sunday school overseer in a small
local Baptist Church in a locality in Italy where there is a Roman Catholic dominance. Although we get materials from
like/Baptist Churches in Ghana, i feel we should look for other help from other Christian source to enhance our studies.
I work and at the same time honour my Christian obligations. We will make mention of you all in our prayers. May the good
Lord be with you all. Bye for now.
Sorry it took so long, but, I told you—although I am generally “a man of few words”—I can be quite long winded with pen and
paper in hand; particularly when the occasion arises where I can speak on behalf of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, The
True Vine. This type of an endeavor deserves and demands no less than a maximum effort. Few, if any, in the churches today
realize it, but to a large degree, the saint’s eternal destiny rides on a correct interpretation, understanding and application of this
passage. This is especially true, given the smorgasbord of opinions in circulation today, from which true seekers after “Truth”
(14:6) are served soul damning lies destined to send them straight to the Lake of Fire, by way of hell (Hades) itself.
First, to answer your questions directly:
1) Yes! The reference here is to believers
2) The terms “take away” & “cast forth” means that non-fruit bearing saints will be rejected, i.e., they will loose their
3) The “two kinds of branches” are a) the ones who bear fruit, and b) the ones who do not bear fruit
4) The effect the terms “take away” and “cast forth” will have on the fruitless ones: same as #2
Ultimately, Randy, although the chief theme and topic of this section is “The True Vine”, or, Jesus Christ, if revolves around
the Father-Son-Church relationship. In that context, the primary sub-theme of this passage you have chosen is “expectations”.
In its opening verses, the Father establishes what might be termed “the ecclesiastical order/hierarchy” or, the church’s “chain
of command”. In so doing, He sets up the relationship between the Father and the Son, and that between the Son and His
earthly symbolic body, the Church. This provides the backdrop for the pristine enunciation of the Father’s expectation from his
saints, as it relates to the primary role of the Savior.
From here, my friend—with the chain of command always in view—the Father proceeds, in simple but straight forward terms,
to lay out, or, to paint a verbal picture summarizing His high expectations for each believer, called the “branch” (or, more aptly,
the “twig”? Unlike some tree branches, the branch of a grape vine detached from its root is absolutely a worthless thing, of no
The language used to illustrate Jesus’ point and to demonstrate these relationships and expectations is metaphorical. In some
since, it is a parable, but, only so as its usage is contorted to fit the unconventional approach and wisdom of the Master, God’s
Master Teacher. By this, He frequently befuddled and confused His hearers by virtue of His unorthodox use of the parable as
an incubator that contained His message, as opposed to one which came (was preached) separate—either before or
afterwards—so as to illustrate a point made or to be made. In so many words, the psychology and strategy of the Lord here is
such that, He was not illustrating the point of a separate message, as much as He was making His point, in the illustration.
Moreover, the language here is such that this is not a question of tares verses wheat, which whatever the mix and similarity, are
yet totally dissimilar, having no point of connectivity. Rather, the Master’s choice of analogy makes it plain, there is an indelible
connectivity between the Branch—that being Himself—and each type of branch alluded to. The parable and its ramifications
would be totally ludicrous, utterly without merit, useless and spiritually meaningless were there, 1) an expectation for
productivity, based upon a manifest union between two parties, one superior and supporting, the other (whether productive or
unproductive), subordinate, and dependant, and, 2) the issuance of a threat of severance and severe punishment for failing to
produce, where clearly there was never any discernable connection between the Vine and the branch, to begin with. It is
impossible to have a vine in which its own unproductive branch was never apart of the vine.
The focus here is on the professing individual, his position and his performance (his spiritual quality, or, spiritual “net worth”),
as evinced by his works (either he is bearing fruit according to prescription, or, he is not), as opposed to the quality of the work
of saints who having actively sought to remain connected to the Vine, have simply fallen short, while struggling to remain
spiritually active (Paul covers this in I Cor. 3:8-17). Moreover, the emphasis here is on the believer from God’s point of view
(looking forward, from the time of one’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ), while he is alive, walking and breathing. It is not
a look back, in examination of a life (with any associated works) already lived, after death and resurrection. In addition, bear in
mind that this is not necessarily a question of shortcomings, failings, or mistakes committed by any branch striving to maintain
a connection to the Vine. Rather, it is strictly a question of the believer’s overall net worth and production, based upon and
governed by a manifest heart attitude (at the beginning and throughout the believer’s walk). It is a projection of what the Father
wants and is looking for, an anticipatory glance (if you please), into the future of each believer, complete with warning and
blessing and, a proclamation of high expectation, so to speak.
The aim of this section is to stress the dire consequences of professing to have a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then,
failing or, refusing to follow through in submission to the “pruning” process, based always upon the Word and His “words” (1:
1), so as to manifest a life given to growth and productivity, rooted in the Vine and everything that He taught and stood for. In
so doing, the Father raises the question (voiced by the Son), why waste one’s time calling Jesus “Lord” when you have no
ambition, and, no intention of learning, and doing as He has said or commanded (Matt. 11:28-30; Luke 6:46). Furthermore, it
highlights the dim view held by the Father of all such as claim to be saints, yet seek to approach Him by circumnavigating or
detaching themselves from the Vine—i.e., striving to come to Him on “roads” other than the Way He has laid down in His word
(14:6), on their terms, apart from that word, or, simply doing little or nothing at all worthy of his calling. And yet, like fools,
they expect to be saved!
With that bit of preliminary in mind, the more literal Greek reads as follows (in italics):