Surely Jesus does not cut off branches that are “in” Him? But, it says so in the Bible!
What do we do with Jesus’ words –
“He CUTS OFF every branch in me that bears no fruit…” (John 15:2 NIV, Emphasis mine)
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He TAKES AWAY…” (John 15:2 NKJV, Emphasis mine)
Most Christians would go ‘Gulp’. How do you read that?
If you are an ‘abider’, if you are ‘in’ Him, wouldn’t that make you nervous? Does this imply you could go to hell if you do not bear fruit? Some would say, “Yes”. Yikes!
Did the translators get it wrong? Did they have a biased mindset of a Fallen Man Gospel? What is Jesus really saying?
Before we get to that let me add –
It is so easy to cut and paste scriptures. This way we can prove our own theology, doctrine, opinion, point. But, when we read scripture we must look at the overall heart of the Word made flesh and the Good News that resulted. We must read the Word through the Word Himself.
If we don’t
- see Jesus in our interpretation
- see unconditional love
- sense incredible mercy and grace
- arrive at reconciliation and restoration (the Father’s eternal intention and plan for all mankind)
- see God’s great faithfulness (even in our unfaithfulness),
then pause and reconsider.
We just might (unknowingly) be tainted by legalism and religion – two strongholds that always promote judgment, works, and uncertainty. You will end up believing BAD news, not the Good News.
Okay, let’s check out the good news of John 15:2a, when you consider a few Greek meanings –
branch – ‘klema’ – shoot, twig, branch
in – ‘en’ (a preposition) – in, inside, within, something which operates from the inside (within)
bearing – ‘pheró’ – to bear, carry along, temporarily or to a definite (prescribed) conclusion
fruit – ‘karpos’ – fruit, result, gain
He (the vinedresser/Father God)
takes away – ‘airó’ – to raise, take up, lift
Can you see it?!
While we are abiding in Jesus there can be times or situations when we are like little shoots or twigs – vulnerable, weak, tender, fresh. Then the Father carefully lifts us up, raises us up and tends to us – because it is in His heart to nurture, protect, mature, and produce fruit in us.
Did you happen to notice the suggestion of resurrection in the ‘raises us up/lifts us up’?! Sweet, huh?.
God doesn’t want us ‘down and out’, nor does He take us away, as if to get rid of us. The Father is a tender vinedresser. He knows how to keep us remaining and bearing.
Now you know – you won’t be taken away, you won’t be cut off! No way!
What a great Vinedresser He is! So relax. Be amazed at the fruit He will enable you to bear as He lifts you up and supports you in those tender ‘twig’ times of weakness and vulnerability. He is doing it all. You just get to abide – and feel safe and secure.
- Are you in a ‘tender twig’ time or have a ‘simple shoot’ look and don’t see any fruit? Not to worry. You are tailor made to be raised up and lifted up in your Father’s loving hands. Just rest in His support. He keeps you and makes sure you will mature into a strong branch that bears HIS fruit.
- Remember that religion expects and even demands fruit. Don’t fall for that – there will NOT be any support in this system – just guilt, and that brings you down. He made you for ‘up’!
- There is great certainty when we are ‘in’ Him. When you are ‘in’, your purpose is ‘abide’. It’s really quite simple, and yet profound. What a Vine! What a Vinedresser! What a life! What fullness!
The next post will look at the second half of John 15:2. More good news!