“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1, ESV).
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.