“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. 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. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples“ (John 15:1-8).
In this passage Jesus is talking to those who have made themselves clean by believing in Him. This audience had become washed by the words of Jesus. Now, He exhorts them to abide (to continue, to endure) in him and bear fruit in order to prove they are His disciples.
Abide means to signify to endure, to adhere to, maintain defend, or stand to, as to abide by a promise, or by a friend; or to suffer the consequences, as to abide by the event, that is, to be fixed or permanent in a particular condition.
When we no longer abide, we leave the place or position we once held. According to Jesus, this is a reality that happens to some of His followers that at one point were washed by His word but did not abide or endure to the end. We see this truth repeated here, here, here, here, and here.
Jesus’ words above are a fulfillment of John the Baptist’ exhortation, “and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
To repent means so much more than we sometimes realize. Repentance is an abandoning of our ways, the natural inclinations of our sinful nature; turning away from everything that is not reflecting God’s truth: For most of us this means we have to rip away many things that have become a part of us. Our world before repentance is a wilderness, a beautiful deception. It is void of any sustaining satisfaction and ultimately leads to eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire with the Devil, beast, and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Repentance helps us to realize that we are in a wilderness. Repentance causes us to change our heart, to a change in our actions, and to become disciples of Jesus.
When we truly repent, we stop doing that is displeasing to God and start doing what is pleasing to God.
Telling someone that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life without telling them what they need to consider is doing them a great disservice. The reality of discipleship, genuine repentance, and turning away from their sins are all necessary components of saving faith. Without this, knowledge abiding and obedient faith as well as works worthy of repentance may not define their life, which are characteristic of Christ’s disciples.
When we share only the positive or the “appealing” side of the gospel, this is no small error we are committing. In doing this, we are building a house made out of wood, hay, and stubble. It may burn. God forbid, we see some souls who thought they were Christians perish in the Lake of Fire while we enter heaven singed by the smoke of their sulfur because they did not realize the cost of serving Christ. Our foundation as well as those we witness to should be built upon Christ and adorned with gold, silver, and precious stones that will not burn at the final judgment.
Abide in Him, especially when carrying out the great commission of making disciples.