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"I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be My disciples. Even as the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you: abide ye in My love" (John 15.5-9).

Abiding in Christ is a vital necessity, for apart from Christ we can do nothing. The parallel is clear between the natural vine and Christ the Vine; the branches of each must abide in the respective vines or there is no fruitbearing. We cannot be separated from Christ, we who have been saved by grace, for we have been quickened together with Him, raised up with Him, and made to sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2.5,6). As members of Christ we arc united to Him with ties that cannot be broken. But in the matter of communion with Him, from which springs the bearing of fruit, we may be cast forth as a branch and withered, because the Father, the Husbandman, takes away the unfruitful branches (verse 2), as the vinedresser removes the unfruitful branches from the ordinary vine. Those that believe that a child of God can be lost and go to eternal destruction, think that they find in the casting forth of withered branches, which are gathered and cast into the fire and burned (verse 6), proof of the falling-away doctrine, that a person can be saved by faith and lost again. But no child of God will perish (John 10.28).

The branch of the vine is useless if it does not bear fruit, save for burning. The child of God in a future day may either have a saved life or a lost one, but no child of God can ever be in the eternal fire. We need to look well to the matter of walking in God's ways lest Satan gain advantage over us and ruin our life for God. We know that in many things we fail, but there is mercy with God that He may be feared.

We now come to another of the Lord's promises which is much like that of John 14.13,14, but here the Lord is pleased to add conditions to His promise, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you". The sole condition in asking is that we abide in Him, and His words abide in us. If that is fulfilled on our part no limitation is set on what we may ask and what will be done for us. We cannot expect that our prayers will be heard and answered if we be carnally-minded. We must be abiding in Him, in that communion which these words imply, and giving His words an abiding-place in us, ruling our lives and guiding our feet in the paths of righteousness. Peter, who heard the promises on that night of the Passover, writes of "His precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust" (2 Peter 1.4). What is a divine nature? A divine nature, I judge, is one that lives by faith in contrast to one that lives by lust (2 Peter 1.4,5).

God is glorified if we bear fruit and such also is the test that we are Christ's disciples. See also John 8.31,32 and Luke 14.25-33. These are tests the Lord laid down as to being one of His disciples. It is possible for a child of God to be a disciple only in name, not in fact.

How near and how dear the Lord's own were to Him! He said, "Even as the Father bath loved Me, I also have loved you: abide in My love His love for His own is measured by His Father's love for Him. That love between the Father and the Son cannot be measured. May we seek in true affection to abide in His love!