I AM the True Vine

I am the true vine is one of the “I AM” statements that Jesus makes in the Gospel of John. It is very important that Jesus makes the claim to be the “True Vine”[1] He was saying that He was truly the way to God and Heaven; many times in the Old Testament Israel was referred to as a vine.[2] This can be seen in passages such as Jeremiah 2:21, “I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?”[3] Unlike the understanding the Jews had at the time, salvation comes through Christ and not through the Law. Secondly, in this analogy Jesus stresses the basis for salvation. The idea of communion with Him and the relationship between Christ;[4] when He says, and us “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”[5] Apart from the life that comes through Jesus we can do nothing and we will wither and die.

The picture Jesus painted as Himself being the true vine gives the understanding that the vine provides all the branches need to live. When we are connected to the vine He is everything for us; He will be able to speak to us and through us.[6] It is a full reliance on His work in our lives. Through this reliance on Him believers are able to produce fruit. Just as branches that are fully supplied with nurturance from the vine will produce good fruit believers also will produce good fruit. Jesus goes on to say those branches that are producing fruit will be pruned. The word that is used literally means, “he cleans”.[7] This cleans gives the branches, or believers, the ability to produce more good fruit. This pruning comes from the Word of God for the believer; the Word will help to cut out sin and corruption within the body.[8]

Jesus makes it quite clear what will happen to those branches or people who do not produce fruit or remain in Christ, the true vine; they will be cut off from the vine and thrown into the fire. There are four interpretations identified by dr. Towns; first believers lose their salvation and will be sent to hell; second the “if” implies some people have not truly accepted salvation and will also be sent to hell; third it is a believer how may lose the heavenly reward from not obeying Christ, the fourth interpretation is that believers who do not bear fruit will die before their time.[9] From this passage it is clear that true believers will produce fruit and those that do not will be cut off from Christ. It is unclear who the cut off ones are exactly. I believe the second understanding that if you do not produce fruit you are not truly believers; I see this understanding from John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I do not believe this passage is stating one can lose their salvation, but that if we are truly His disciples it will be seen from others from the fruit or love we produce.

Lastly, Jesus said in John 10:28, “ I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” So if you were ever worried you may lose your salvation because of something you have done, do not worry, because “no one will snatch them (us) from my (Jesus Christ’s) hand.” But if you are struggling with sin i encourage you to follow the words of Christ to the woman caught in adultery “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”[10]

God Bless!

[1] John 15:1 (NIV).

[2] Leon Morris, Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John (Grand Rapids: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 120.

[3] Jeremiah 2:21 (NIV).

[4] Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John: Believe and Live (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2002), 149.

[5] John 15:5 (NIV).

[6] Andrew Murray, The Mystery Of The True Vine (London [England]: J. Nisbet, 1898) 5.

[7] Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John: Believe and Live (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2002), 151.

[8] Matthew Henry and David Winter, Matthew Henry’s New Testament Commentary  “Gospels and Acts” (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995).

[9] Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John: Believe and Live (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2002), 151-152.

[10] John 8:11 (NIV)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s