“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away;” John 15:1-2a
Today’s passage describes a sobering reality. Not every professing Christian is a genuine follower of Jesus Christ. Now, it’s not our job to determine who is or isn’t truly a believer. That judgment belongs to God alone. However, those of us who profess faith in Christ can be certain of our own salvation. Christ’s warning prompts the question, “Are you a genuine follower of Jesus?”
Jesus’ illustration is significant. In Scripture, Israel had been referred to as the vine (Isaiah 5:4; Jeremiah 2:21). So, when Jesus said, “I am the true vine,” He declared that being a child of God required more than Jewish heritage. It requires a living union with Him, which produces spiritual fruit as evidence. In other words, there’s no such thing as a “no fruit” Christian. Weak branches may produce meager fruit but dead branches never produce fruit at all.
Judas is an example of a dead branch (John 13:21-30). Although he spent three years in Jesus’ inner circle, he remained spiritually dead. He never responded in faith to God’s Word spoken by God’s own Son. Yet he must have kept up appearances because he was so trusted by the other disciples that he was their treasurer (John 13:29). Likewise, the good things you do are not genuine spiritual fruit if you’re not a genuine follower of Jesus.
According to Jesus, false disciples will continue to coexistence with believers until He returns (Matthew 13:30-50). The warnings in those parables are just as dire as in today’s illustration. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned” (v6).
In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus described the final cutting away of dead, fruitless branches, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
So, is the Holy Spirit convicting or confirming? Are you producing spiritual fruit as evidence of your union with Jesus? If not, please don’t ignore these warnings. In order to be a child of God, you must also be a genuine follower of Jesus Christ.