(2 Peter 1:4 and John 15:4-5)
By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, 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, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Eph.4:24>And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Heb.12:10>For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
1John3:2>Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Eph.2:21-22>In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Col.1:23> If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
1John2:6> He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked
Prov.11:30>The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winns souls is wise.
Hos.14:8> Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.
Luke13:6-9> And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
Gal.5:22-23>But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law
This promise of shared life is so “exceedingly great and precious” that we would do well to consider it further. Being “partakers of the divine nature” (without becoming divine ourselves) is a difficult concept to grasp. The Scriptures clearly invite us to live day by day through Christ sharing His life in us. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Yet, how to walk in this truth can seem quite elusive. In His teaching on the vine and the branches, Jesus provided a wonderful physical illustration of this tremendous spiritual reality.
Jesus’ visible example involves actual grapevines, grape branches, and the grapes that can potentially result. For grapes to grow, the appropriate life source must be accessed by the branches. The grape branches do not have this life in themselves. “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.” In order to bear grapes, the grape branch must share in the life of the vine. “The branch cannot bear fruit… unless it abides in the vine.” This can be irrefutably demonstrated by separating a grape branch from its vine. No grapes can ever be produced on the branches, if the life of the vine is not flowing through the branches. The life of the vine is essential.
The spiritual application specifies Jesus as the vine and us as the branches. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” For Christlike fruit to develop in us, the appropriate life source must be accessed by us. We branches do not have this life in us: “neither can you [bear fruit], unless you abide in Me.” This truth is lamentably demonstrated daily by Christians who live self-sufficiently, not depending upon the life that is in Jesus, the vine. “Without Me you can do nothing.” Day by day Christian living is only possible by the shared life of Jesus at work through us.
Once again, we are reminded that humility and faith are the practical application for living as God intends. We must humbly depend upon Jesus for true fruitful living, just as grape branches must depend upon their vine for grapes.
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You that I do not have to produce true life in and of myself. Teach me to live by Your shared life. I want to humbly and dependently abide in You, that You might live in and through me, for Your glory, Amen.