Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
By Gary Wilkerson
When Jesus refers to Himself as the “true” vine, He is talking about more than accurate information. “True” here carries the same sense as the phrase “true friend”—meaning real, genuine, authentic, on hand to support you with substance.
So what about the vinedresser, our heavenly Father? He tends His garden lovingly and perfectly. It’s His job to keep life flowing through us, and He can be trusted to put the right things into place to make them grow. Therefore, as we abide in Christ, attached to the vine, we don’t have to stress or worry about our lives. We are given true life-flow from Jesus and are caringly tended by our Father.
If we are grafted into the vine, shouldn’t we bear fruit naturally? We know we are saved and secure in Christ and graced by the Father’s love. How could fruit not come from this?
Again Jesus supplies the key word: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Here is another phrase that sets off alarms in a lot of Christians: “Unless you abide in me.” Some followers grow fearful when they read this. They create dos and don’ts that actually cut them off from true life.
It’s true that Jesus’ statement here is conditional, meaning that we have a part to play. But the other part of the equation is this: Jesus abides in us—and His presence in us is steadfast, stalwart, immovable: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When Christ says, “Unless you abide in Me,” He is not referring to our salvation—because our salvation was secured by Him on the cross. He is speaking of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives—our witness, our righteous walk, our joy and peace.