15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:1-8 NIV
Salvation, Discipleship, and Eternal Security have long been intense main topics of debate among Theologians. Church splits and new denominations can accredit their birth to each of these subjects. In this post I will discuss these three and how they relate to John 15:1-8. All three topics are touched on indirectly if not directly in these eight verses.
The topic of salvation is found in chapter 15 probably as many times as any other chapter in the Bible. Although the word is not directly referenced, it implies the true meaning of salvation itself in being attached to Christ as the “vine”. We are all linked in Christ to heaven. We must always remember that Jesus is that link to get to the Father. None of us were worthy, but in verse three God reminds us because of Jesus’ redeeming Word we will be made worthy through him. Also in that verse, Jesus declares us “already clean” because of his word and sacrifice so that the moment we believe we are saved. Smith Wigglesworth was quoted as saying, “If you are definite with [Jesus], you will never go away disappointed. The divine life will flow into you and instantaneously you will be delivered. This Jesus is just the same today, and he says to you, ‘I will; be thou clean.’ He has an overflowing cup for you, a fullness of life.” (Coulter p.450)
God is clear in his word regarding discipleship. He tells what it is and even gives examples of how to apply it through stories. In John 15:1-8, God is demanding our hearts to focus on how important discipleship is to the Kingdom of God and his role in the process. Verse 15 tells us who the source of strength and power is, while verse 5 reminds us that if we stay connected in Christ we will bear fruit (visible benefits in life and works). Apart from Jesus though, we can do nothing. In the article I found by Fernando Segovia, a similar conclusion is made on page 120 saying, “V 2 provides the two implicit examples: a disciple is a ‘branch’ and his task is one of ‘bearing fruit’”. Regardless of how we currently view discipleship right now we must see that verse 8 clearly shows why discipleship is a main priority.
8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
All of us seem to have personal feelings or beliefs regarding eternal security, but when examining scriptures in search for the truth we must put those behind us and look at what God is really telling us in His Word. I must admit by looking only within this specific segment of scripture it leaves me with a neutral stance. There are many other scriptures which cover this topic in detail, but we are only focusing right now on John 15:1-8. In verses 1,2,4, and 6 it sounds as if God is implying that there is no such thing as eternal security or anything close to it. However, in the last part of verse 4 and 7 he seems to imply Christ never leaves us, but rather we just leave Christ. In verse four “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” seems to imply that he is always in you once a person has received him. If this is true, those verses tell us there is possibly such a thing as eternal security. Personally, I would rather not live my life such as that would require me to find out upon arrival to judgement in the end days.
COULTER, DALE. 2008. "‘Delivered By the Power of God’: Toward a Pentecostal Understanding of Salvation." International Journal Of Systematic Theology 10, no. 4: 447-467. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
Morris, L. The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970.
Segovia, Fernando F. 1982. "THE THEOLOGY AND PROVENANCE OF JOHN 15:1-17." Journal Of Biblical Literature 101, no. 1: 115. Religion and Philosophy Collection, EBSCOhost
Towns, Elmer. The Gospel of John: Believe and Live. Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series. Nashville: AMG, 2002