Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fruitless Branches (John 15:2, 6) John MacArthur

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; ... 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. (John 15:2, 6) The reference here is not, as some imagine, to true Christians losing their salvation, nor are these fruitless but genuine Christians (an impossibility). That these branches bear no fruit marks them as unbelieving, false disciples since, as noted previously, all true Christians bear fruit. Further, Jesus promised that He will not cast out any true disciples: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37). The phrase in Me in this case cannot have the Pauline connotation of believers' union with Christ; it merely describes those who outwardly attach themselves to Him (cf. Matt. 13:20--22; Rom. 9:6--8; 11:16--24; 1 John 2:19). Such people will always be present with the true church. The New Testament describes them as tares among the wheat (Matt. 13:25--30); bad fish that are thrown away (Matt. 13:48); goats condemned to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:33, 41); those left standing outside when the head of the house shuts the door (Luke 13:25--27)...

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