Sunday, August 14, 2022

I Am the True Vine

By Brian Mitchell


    In OT times Israel was regarded as God’s true vine. God used the nation of Israel to accomplish His purposes in the world. They were His vine and He thus cared for them, pruned them, and cut off all unfruitful branches making them more capable of producing fruit (Is.5:1-7). God had done all that He could have possibly done to enable Israel to bear much fruit and yet she produced less and less.

    Thus, as a result of her unfruitfulness, God ceased blessing and protecting Israel and she was eventually taken into captivity. Israel was a vivid illustration of the tragic consequences of unfruitfulness which leads us to our lesson in this article. Since Israel as a nation ceased to bear fruit, God needed a new vine through which those connected could receive His blessings. That vine, as we see in the gospel of John, is Jesus Christ (Jn.15:1).

    What does it mean to be a part of the vine? Perhaps a better question to ask is; what does it mean to be a part of Christ, since He is the vine? It means that we are a part of His body, which is the church (Eph.1:22-23). One can not be connected to the vine (Christ) without being a part of His body. Only those who have put on Christ in baptism are a part of His church and thus connected to the vine (Gal.3:26-27). One other question of significance is: what is the significance of being a part of the vine? In other words; why do men need to be in Christ? God’s means of accounting men righteous is identifying them with His Son, who is righteous. Therefore, it is only by being in Christ, where all spiritual blessings are (Eph.1:3), that men can be righteous in the sight of God.

    What are the obligations of those who are a part of the vine? In short those who a part of the vine must bear much fruit (Jn.15:5, 8). But what does it mean to bear fruit? “Fruit bearing includes every activity of the Christian. It includes, but is not limited to, acts of love and Christian charity. It embraces every act which Christ if present would do, but being absent, must depend on His followers to do for Him” (Guy Woods). The Bible discusses a number of activities which are identified with the Christian’s bearing of fruit. They include, but are not limited to, soul winning (Rom.1:13), living lives of holiness (Rom.6:20-22), singing praises to God (Heb.13:15), and engaging in general good works (Col.1:10).

    What happens when those in the vine don’t fulfill their obligations? Jesus reveals that there are some branches that are simply unfruitful and thus are removed from the vine and cast out to wither (Jn.15:2, 6). This, of course, poses an insurmountable obstacle for those religious groups which teach the impossibility of apostasy or once saved always saved. These fruitless branches are Christians, as Jesus shows, “they are in Him.” The problem with those who are cast out is not that they were never Christians, as some suppose, the problem is that they bore not fruit as Christians and thus served no useful purpose.

    Jesus is the true vine and those in Him have life and thus have the responsibility to bear much fruit in the name of Him who gave them life. God wants Christians to bear much fruit and it is in fact through doing so that we glorify God (Jn.15:8). The key to bearing fruit is abiding in Jesus. The key to abiding in Jesus is obeying His words. The key to obeying His words is loving Him. The key to loving Him is knowing Him. Thus the more we know and love Jesus, the more obedient we will be to Him. That only leaves one question; Are You a Part of the Vine?

- Brian Mitchell serves as a minister with the Jackson Church of Christ in Jackson, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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