JOHN CHAPTER 15

ABIDING IN CHRIST

I) [Jn 15:1-8]:

(v. 1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.

(v. 2) He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

(v. 3) You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

(v. 4) Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

(v. 5) I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.

(v. 6) If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

(v. 7) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

(v. 8) This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples."

[Jn 15:1-8 cont.]:

A) [Jn 15:1]:

(v. 1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.

1) JESUS IS THE ONE TRUE VINE THROUGH WHOM ALL FRUIT IS BORNE

The disciples had a different understanding of the word "vine" from Old Testament Scripture. To them the "vine" meant Israel and in a sense outside of the context of this verse it does:

a) [Ps 80:8-9]:

"You [Jehovah God] brought a vine out of Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land."

b) [Isa 5:1, 7]:

(v. 1) "I will sing for the one I love a song about His vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside..........

(v. 7) The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of His delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress."

c) [Jer 2:21]:

"I [God] had planted you [Israel] like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?"

d) [Hos 10:1]:

"Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones."

Old Testament Scripture refers to Israel in the above passages as a vine. But our Lord, as it is recorded in the Gospel of John is stating that He is the One True Vine - as opposed to Israel who is referred to in O.T. Scripture as a vine but not the True Vine from Whom all things bear fruit. This to the Jew was a startling statement to hear. For the focus of the Old Testament-minded Jew with respect to the symbolism of the word "vine" was indeed the nation Israel. Our Lord, however, goes much deeper, He goes to the source of the fruit bearing - to the One True Vine through Whom one bears fruit: the Messiah of the nation Israel, (and of the whole world), the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The word translated as "true" = "alethine" = genuine.

[Jn 15:1 cont.]:

(v. 1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener."

2) AND THE FATHER IS THE GARDENER, WHO IS INTIMATELY INVOLVED WITH HIS CREATION

"My Father is the Gardener" = In Old Testament Scripture, God is spoken of as the Owner of the vineyard - of Israel. This is a concept from which the Jews held that God was a distant God Who did not involve Himself intimately with the day to day lives of His people, except at times to judge. But here our Lord is saying something new: that God is not only the Owner of the vineyard, but He is a God Who takes intimate and exacting care of His vineyard. And our Lord further says that God the Father Himself was taking care of the Vine Who is the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father is the Vinedresser - the "Husbandman" Who, the Lord testifies is intimately involved, on a moment to moment basis, caring for God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ while our Lord walked the face of the earth . As the Father is so intimately involved in caring for the Son, so He is also involved with caring for the believers - the branches of the Living Vine - as our Lord attests to in this passage.

Dr McGee states, ("Thru The Bible", vol IV, Nelson Publishers, 1983, p.465):

"In the Old Testament it is prophesied that the Lord Jesus would grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of the dry ground.........................................

a) [Isa 11:1]:

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord - ..."]

[McGee cont.]..................think how often the Father intervened to save Jesus from the Devil who wished to slay Him. The Father is the One Who cared for the Vine, and He will care for the branches, too."

B) [Jn 15:1-2]:

(v. 1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.

(v. 2) He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

1) THE SUBJECT OF THIS PASSAGE IS FRUIT BEARING NOT SALVATION

a) THE SCENARIO OF A VINEYARD DEPICTS FRUIT BEARING

Dr McGee brings out the key to this passage in John 15, (op. cit. p.465):

"The branches must be joined to the Vine. For what purpose? For fruit-bearing....."

i.e., the purpose discussed here in this passage is NOT SALVATION. Our Lord is speaking to His disciples, Peter, James, John et al - His own disciples who are born again believers with the exception of one Judas Iscariot, who no longer walked with Christ in the pretense of being a disciple, (Jn 13:30). Jesus is speaking to them on the subject of doing divine good works - of bearing fruit. He is not teaching on the subject of receiving or keeping one's eternal life in heaven.

Let's keep in mind that we must not draw meaning from this parable unless our Lord does so Himself. Instead, we are to discern only those relationships between individuals and activities in the vineyard to which our Lord refers; and only in the specific ways in which He refers. The subject at hand that our Lord is speaking about is the bearing of fruit of His disciples, and by application the bearing of fruit of all believers, (v.8). Our Lord, therefore, speaks about the process that a husbandman - a caretaker - of a vineyard goes through in order to get the branches of the vine to produce fruit. He prunes the branches that bear fruit in order that they may bear more fruit. He cuts off the branches of the vine that aren't producing fruit at all. These branches which he has cut off he throws away. These 'cutoff' branches wither and are thrown into a fire and burned. Keep in mind that this is the normal way a vinedresser tends to his vineyard in order to produce fruit. And all of this activity that our Lord is speaking about is relative to the producing of fruit in His Disciples - born-again believers - secure in their eternal destiny with the Lord in heaven, (Eph 1:13-14).

b) SALVATION IS NOT IN VIEW IN THIS PASSAGE BUT LOSS OF FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IS.

The description of the cutting off and burning of the non-fruit producing branches does not correlate to a believer who does not produce fruit being cut off from eternal life.

This becomes clear when verse 10 is considered:

i) [Jn 15:10]:

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

This verse confirms that salvation is not the subject - and especially not losing it - when our Lord speaks of abiding. For Jesus is telling the disciples to abide, i.e., remain in His love by keeping faithful to what He has commanded them to do just as He has been faithful to the Father and has abided in God the Father's love. Our Lord cannot be describing the maintaining of His own salvation here for He is God. He is however speaking of maintaining His continued fellowship with God the Father.

What John 15:2 does teach is that the value of an unfruitful believer's life is as worthless as those branches which are cut-off and which wither and are burned, (v. 6). Furthermore, other passages indicate that the unfruitful believer is cut off from temporal fellowship with God until he becomes fruitful again by abiding in Christ.

ii) This is detailed for example in 1 John 1:1-10.

c) SALVATION IS NOT IN VIEW IN THIS PASSAGE BECAUSE IT WOULD THEN TEACH THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF LOSS OF SALVATION, CONTRADICTING THE REST OF SCRIPTURE

Loss of salvation must not be read into this passage - especially at the violation of other clear passages in Scripture that maintain that a person once having believed is permanently secured for eternal life in heaven and cannot lose his salvation, fruit or no fruit. For example:

i) [Jn 6:47]:

"I [Jesus] tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

He who, at a moment in time, exercises a belief in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior will at that moment have everlasting life. If one has everlasting life then one has life which is everlasting - one is in a state of living forever with God. This forever state by definition cannot be interrupted or lost because it would not then be everlasting life that that person received when they trusted in Christ as Savior - it would have to be something else. If it is not "everlasting life" that one receives when one believes in Christ as Savior, (Jn 6:47), then the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is a liar for saying that it is.

And our Lord said it again:

ii) [Jn 5:24]:

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

Our Lord goes one step further and unequivocally states that whoever believes in the fact that God the Father sent Jesus to be that individual's own personal Savior has come into the possession - the experience of having - eternal life. Yes, it is true that that person will still die physically; but now having believed, he receives eternal life and he will most assuredly go to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven forever and not the Lake of Fire. For our Lord states that that person will not ever be in danger of being condemned again:

[Jn 5:24 cont.]:

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life and [that person who believes] will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

Jesus said above that the person who trusts in Him as Savior has passed, "crossed over", from death - condemnation unto Hell, to life - everlasting life. By definition of the phrase "has eternal life" which our Lord spoke in this passage, one does not pass back and forth between having eternal life and then losing it, once more to be in a state of eternal condemnation.

One more set of passages which nails the door shut on being able to lose one's salvation for any reason:

iii) [Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

"a seal" = A seal means something which is permanently affixed, not to be broken until the final act of salvation is accomplished - that of going to be with the Lord in heaven in a perfect state of righteousness - a perfect body. God Himself seals the believer's eternal destiny with Him in heaven at the moment that that person trusts in Christ as his Personal Savior. He seals each believer "until the redemption or those who are God's possession..."

[Compare Eph 4:30]:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

"The redemption of those who are God's possession..." = the experiential redemption of all believers when they finally receive their perfect bodies. All believers are promised by God to be redeemed at the point of their trusting in Christ as Savior - this is called positional redemption: believers are permanently placed by God in the legal position of already having been saved. After this, in God's time, according to His plan of the ages, each believer will receive his resurrection body and spend all eternity with Him.

Compare Eph 2:4-6 which also teaches positional redemption:

(v. 4) "But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy,

(v. 5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.

(v. 6) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [i.e., God judicially placed the believer with Christ in heaven at the point that that believer trusted in Christ as savior.] in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

So now it is just a matter of waiting until God completes His sovereign plan of redemption.........................................

[2 Pet 3:9]:

"The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

..........................So now it is just a matter of waiting until God completes His sovereign plan of redemption saving all of those in history who will trust alone in His Son alone as Savior. Then the final step of all believers of actually receiving one's perfect body will be done:

[1 Cor 15:42, 48-49]:

(v. 42) "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. [believers, cp v.48 below] The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;

(v. 48) As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the Man from heaven, [the Lord Jesus Christ] so also are those who are of heaven [believers, cp Eph 2:4-6 previously quoted].

(v. 49) And just as we [believers] have borne the likeness of the earthly man [since all men were born 'in Adam' - under sin, (Ro 5:12)], so shall we [believers] bear the likeness of the Man from heaven."

Ref. 1 Cor 15:22.

[Eph 1:13-14 cont.]:

(v. 13) "Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of His glory."

"of those who are God's possession" = that's you & I as believers, ref. Jn 1:12-13, 10:29, 17:6-9.

d) SALVATION IS NOT IN VIEW BECAUSE FAITH IS NOT MENTIONED

If the Lord intended for the lack of fruit in a person's life to be an absolute indicator that that person is not a believer - that that person had never trusted alone in Christ alone as Personal Savior - then He would have addressed the lack of the missing element of faith in the ones who lacked any fruit in their lives. The element of faith is not mentioned at all in His discourse. The concept of faith in Him as Savior is absolutely crucial to the Lord in the understanding of His Gospel.

[Jn 15:1-2 cont.]:

(v. 1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.

(v. 2) He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

2) BELIEVERS NOT UNBELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW IN THIS VERSE BECAUSE THE SUBJECT IS FRUIT BEARING AND UNBELIEVERS CANNOT BEAR FRUIT

As it has already been concluded that the subject of our Lord's discourse in John chapter 15 is the fruit bearing of His Disciples, then we may also conclude that our Lord is not addressing any of those He is speaking to as if they are unbelievers. The doctrine of the inability of unbelievers to produce any fruit demands this conclusion. One does not speak to unbelievers, even if they are false professors, about producing fruit for the Kingdom of God - about producing divine good. For example, consider what Paul said in his letter to the Romans:

a) [Ro 8:8]:

"Those controlled by the sin nature.... [unbelievers, cp Ro 6:17] ...cannot please God."

So in the passage in John 15 our Lord was not addressing unbelievers in what He was saying because an unbeliever CANNOT perform service for the Lord in the way of fruit - of divine good works which would please God.

3) LACK OF FRUIT IS NOT A CLEAR INDICATOR OF LACK OF SALVATION

Also, a position of being determined as not ever having been a believer because of the lack of fruit contradicts other passages of Scripture which maintain that believers often fail to produce fruit - some getting to heaven as one passing through flames:

a) [1 Cor 3:11-15]:

~~~1cor3v15

(v. 11) "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

["foundation....which is Jesus Christ" = The foundation which is the complete salvation unto eternal life of an individual which is exclusively and solely through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (Acts 4:12; Jn 14:6; Eph 2:8-9)]

(v. 12) Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, [bearing fruit as a believer who abides in Christ] [or] wood, hay, straw [bearing worthless human centered activity - unfruitful behavior reflecting a life which is not abiding in Christ]

[Now once one is saved one then begins to build upon this foundation. One may build with eternally valuable gold, silver and precious stones, i.e., divine good works; or with valueless and destructible wood, hay and straw, i.e., human centered works, (or perhaps no works at all - just a sinful lifestyle). The building that a believer's lifestyle is forming upon the foundation of salvation in Christ is representative of the reward that a believer receives when he gets to heaven]

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day [of the Judgment Seat of Christ, (ref. 2 Cor 5:10)] will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test [not the man himself - his nature relative to eternal life but] the quality of each man's work.

["the Day" = a term which signifies the day when our Lord will begin preparations to and then return in judgment and rule the earth from Jerusalem, (ref. Isaiah - details of the "Day" described throughout the entire book. 2 Thes 2:1-2 and I Thes 4:13-18 point to the rapture which is the beginning of the "Day" of the Lord when He brings believers dead and alive up to him in heaven in preparation to return to the earth for His Millennial rule.

"Fire will test the quality of each man's work" = This is not referring to the judgment fire of unbelievers to eternal damnation, (ref. Rev 20:11-15), but a different and earlier judgment fire which will judge the works of believers relative to receiving rewards in heaven and not the believer himself relative to eternal life. It is the unacceptable works that a believer does which are referred to as being "burned up" and not the believer himself. For the believer without acceptable works truly does end up being saved in spite of an unfaithful life because he has already been judged for that at the cross as a result of his faith alone in Christ alone foundation built for him by God Himself, (v. 11).

Notice that the fire here is put to the works of the man - the value of what that man did while he was physically alive on earth; and NOT to the man himself]

[1 Cor 3:11-15 cont.]:

(v. 14) If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, [after being subject to the fire] he shall receive a reward.

["any man's" = 'any believer's', since the context is limited to the population of those who are building on the foundation of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, (v. 11).

"it" = the "foundation" of eternal life which is faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v.11).

Notice that it is a reward that the believer receives for doing the divine good work that God had appointed him to do, (Eph 2:10). If the believer's work survives the fire test, (gold, silver and precious stones are typically refined by fire and not destroyed), then a reward will be forthcoming. The believer's divine good works did not provide for him eternal life - that foundation had already been built by his faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v. 11). So what the man built on that foundation of eternal life with his divine good works, ("gold, silver, precious stones"), was a reward when he got to heaven in addition to eternal life.

And the reverse is also true, if the believer does not abide in Christ, producing works which are not divine good, they will be consumed in the fire, suffering the loss of eternal rewards]:

(v. 15) "If any man's work is burned up, [wood, hay, straw] he shall SUFFER LOSS; but he himself shall be saved [unto eternal life], yet so as [one who barely escapes with his life] through fire [saving nothing of his belongings except himself - he goes to heaven the poorest of paupers for the rest of eternity."

Notice that if the believer's works were burned up - i.e., if the works did not survive the test of fire, then that believer will actually suffer loss - suffer in heaven for the loss of what he could have received but did not because he wasted his time on earth. But that believer, the Scripture says, will still remain saved unto eternal life, barely entering onto heaven's shores as one escaping to safety from a burning house - without bringing anything out of the burning house but himself.

Thus the representation of the fruitless believer's life relative to the quality of his life in heaven is burned up, leaving nothing of value for him with which to receive rewards and build his life in eternity in heaven. His life in heaven will be limited for all eternity!

~~~1cor3v15

@@@heavenbound

[Jn 15:1-2 cont.]:

(v. 1) "I [Jesus] am the true vine, and My Father is the Gardener.

(v. 2) He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

4) EVERY BRANCH IN ME REFERS TO THE TEMPORAL FELLOWSHIP AND NOT THE ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP OF THE BELIEVER WITH CHRIST

"Every branch in Me" = This phrase refers to those believers who abide in Christ - whose lifestyle is one of obedience to Christ's commands. At first glance, one might mistakenly conclude that this phrase refers to those who are saved or to those who are joined to Jesus Christ in some way. However, this is ruled out because the passage indicates that believers may or may not abide in Christ depending upon how fruitful they choose to be. Since Scripture clearly teaches that believers are permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit and thereby forever sealed into their position in Christ, i.e., into the body of Christ, (not the Godhead), i.e., the Church, at the point of salvation, (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30), then the passage in John could not be referring to loss of salvation nor loss of any kind of permanent relationship with God. This is further confirmed in Jn 15:8 where our Lord summarizes the message of this passage, speaking directly to His disciples:

a) [Jn 15:8]:

"This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples." (Cp Mt 7:16).

The body of Christ, the church, is carefully described in 1 Cor 12:12-31 as a group of individuals all permanently joined into one functioning entity, each individual being equipped with finite capacities. These finite capacities are to be exercised so that the believer bears fruit and is thereby abiding in Christ, i.e., in temporal fellowship with Him. The issue therefore is fruit bearing by abiding in Christ, not how to get into an eternal relationship with God through faith alone in Christ alone. So verse 2 of John 15 begins with the understanding that Jesus is speaking about believers relative to their divine good work production - their fruit bearing. The branches are described as being "in Me" [in Christ], i.e., abiding in Christ, if they are producing fruit. The context of this particular passage defines a person who is abiding in Christ as a believer who is in fellowship with the Lord, i.e., being obedient to Christ - producing fruit. Recall that only believers can be in a status of abiding in Christ - being obedient to Christ - in the first place. Unbelievers cannot please God at any time and therefore cannot abide in Christ even for a moment. They are slaves top sin and do not have the capacity to produce fruit, (ref. Ro 6:17-18, 8:8). They have no possibility of being in fellowship with God any more than darkness has to do with the Light, (1 John 1:5-7). So the branches are referred to by our Lord as believers who have a choice: To produce fruit while abiding in Christ resulting in eternal rewards in heaven or to not bear fruit and then be like the fruitless branches of an actual vine that are literally cut off because they were useless.

@@@heavenbound

[Jn 15:1-2 cont.]:

(v. 1) "I [Jesus] am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener."

(v. 2) "He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

5) CUTTING OFF BRANCHES CANNOT REFER TO LOSS OF SALVATION OF FRUITLESS BELIEVERS OTHERWISE PRUNING BACK OF FAITHFUL, FRUITFUL BELIEVERS WOULD HAVE TO MEAN THE SAME

"while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful" =

Notice that God the Father prunes - severely cuts back - the branches that do produce fruit. This is what the vinedresser actually does, he severely cuts back the productive branches so that they will produce even more fruit - and they too are thrown in the pile to be burned. Notice that if one is to demand that those who do not produce fruit are to be cut off from Christ and lose their salvation because of taking John 15:2a, (first phrase), beyond its intent; then, to be consistent and honest with the way one is interpreting this parable, one must interpret the second phrase of this verse to conclude that all fruit bearing believers are to be cut way back from Christ thus perhaps losing their salvation in order that they produce more fruit, (John 15:2b) - this does not make sense! So it is obvious that one is not to interpret the cutting off of the branches to mean that an individual is cut off from eternal life. Rather, it is to be interpreted within the context given: this parable is teaching what the Father does relative to the quality of works that a believer produces. Just as the fruitless branch is cut off from the vine so the believer who chooses to go his own way and not God's way is cut off by God from temporal fellowship with Jesus Christ. Once cut off from Christ one cannot produce fruit at all. But there is always the opportunity to be rejoined in temporal fellowship with our Lord through confession followed by repentant behavior, (1 Jn 1:1-10).

And in the same way that the fruit producing branch is pruned so that it will produce even more fruit, so the faithful believer is put through the 'pruning' of testing, hardship and suffering in order to make him even more faithful and productive. The theme and major subject of this parable is fruit - divine good works. Relative to pruning, our Lord is just referring to the trials, disciplining and testing that He permits and provides for believers in order for them to mature and produce more fruit:

a) [Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

b) [Rev 2:10 (to the church in Smyrna)]:

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I [Jesus] tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you,

[by and under the sovereign permission of Almighty God]

and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

c) [Heb 12:4-11]:

(v. 4) "In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

(v. 5) "And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

(v. 6) 'My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.' [Pr 3:11-12]

(v. 7) Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

(v. 8) "If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.

(v. 9) Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

(v. 10) Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.

(v. 11) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

d) [Jas 1:2-4]:

(v. 2) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

(v. 3) because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

(v. 4) Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

C) [Jn 15:1-3]:

(v. 1) "I [Jesus] am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.

(v. 2) He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

(v. 3) You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you."

1) JESUS DECLARES BELIEVERS ALREADY CLEAN FROM SIN, I.E., SAVED AND ETERNALLY SECURE

Our Lord is saying to His disciples, 'You are clean - [i.e., you are credited with absolute righteousness, [Ro 3:21-24] - saved by faith in Me as Messiah Savior; and so the subject of salvation is not what I am speaking about.'

2) DAILY SINS OF THE BELIEVER MUST BE CLEANSED AND BEHAVIOR CORRECTED ON A MOMENT TO MOMENT BASIS - NOT FOR SALVATION BUT TO ABIDE IN CHRIST - TO REMAIN IN FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM

Just a day or so earlier, our Lord was washing the Disciples' feet in the upper room and when Peter objected to His Messiah stooping to wash his feet, Jesus answered:

a) [Jn 13:8b-11]:

(v. 8b) " 'Unless I wash you [Peter] you have no part with Me..................................

[Jesus is saying, 'Unless you, Peter, allow Me to wash your feet, which demonstrates your acceptance of Me as a servant to you and to all mankind, Who will die for the sins of all men, then you have no part in this ministry with Me,' (even though you are a believer). 'Unless you, Peter, submit to a ministry of serving man as an ambassador of Jesus Christ, then, even though you are a believer... (vv. 8-10 below) .......you Peter have no part in My ministry. For that is how you, Peter, are to operate: as an ambassador of the gospel of Jesus Christ, (cp 2 Cor 5:17-21), to serve mankind with the gospel of salvation - to stoop to be servants as I have stooped to serve you', (cp Jn 13:13-17; Phil 2:5-8)].

[Jn 13:8b-11 cont.]:

(v. 8b cont) 'Unless I wash you [Peter], you have no part with Me.'

(v.9) 'Then, Lord,' Simon Peter replied, 'Not my feet but my hands and my head as well!'

(v. 10) Jesus answered, 'A person who has had a bath, needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean....."

[That is to say, 'a person who has already been declared 'clean,' i.e., righteous - saved unto eternal life - by God through faith in Christ, ref Ro 3:21-24, needs only to have his daily, temporal sins washed away].

(v. 10 cont) 'A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you [Disciples] are clean,.....

['And you disciples have been declared absolutely righteous - i.e., justified unto eternal life]

.....And you [Disciples] are clean though not every one of you.'

(v. 11) For He knew who was going to betray Him, and that was why He said not everyone was clean."

Shortly thereafter, Judas Iscariot, who never trusted in our Lord for salvation, left the gathering in the upper room and went out into the night bent on betraying our Lord, now totally possessed by Satan. (ref. Jn 13:21-30).

So Jesus declares that all of the Disciples except Judas Iscariot, son of Simon are saved - are "clean". Then our Lord states, (v. 10), that if one has had a bath then one is already clean, i.e., righteous unto salvation and therefore "needs only to wash his feet" because "his whole body is clean." Our Lord when He said, "A person...... (who has had a bath)... needs only to wash his feet" is referring to a believer's daily sins which need to be cleansed. Recall that all of a believer's sins relative to eternal life have already been washed by accepting by faith what Jesus Christ would do on the cross: to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world, (1 Cor 6:11; I Jn 2:2). The sins represented by the 'dirt on the feet' must be cleansed on a moment to moment basis - NOT FOR SALVATION BUT TO ABIDE IN CHRIST - TO REMAIN IN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD. Remember that our Lord said that a believer's - a disciple's - "whole body is clean". The believer's sins are all paid for relative to salvation so his whole body is declared clean - declared righteous. But when there are sins in a believer's life which are not dealt with before God - unconfessed - then these sins, although paid for with respect to eternal life, still have the effect of taking an eternally secure believer OUT OF TEMPORAL (not eternal) FELLOWSHIP with God. Thus the unrepentant believer grieves God the Holy Spirit, (Eph 4:17-32), and places himself under God's discipline, (Heb 13:4-15). He is in need of repentance, (a change of mind that one's life as a believer needs to be confessed as sinful before a Holy God). He needs to confess his sin, (1 Jn 1:9) and redirect his life, (Eph 5:1-21). This sin is called temporal sin - the sin of having dirty feet.

[Jn 15:1-3 cont.]:

(v. 3) "You are already clean [saved unto eternal life] because of the word I have spoken to you."

3) THE DISCIPLES AND ALL INDIVIDUALS BECOME CLEAN, (I.E., SINS FORGIVEN), RELATIVE TO ETERNAL LIFE BY HEARING THE GOSPEL OF THEIR SALVATION AND BELIEVING IN IT

"Because of the word I have spoken to you." = The Apostle Paul's words in his letter to the church in Ephesus come to mind here which we will personalize as if our Lord were speaking them to the disciples:

a) [Eph 1:13-14]:

"And you [disciples] also were included in [Me, (the Lord Jesus Christ)] when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you [will be] ...marked in...[Me] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing ...[your]...inheritance until the redemption of [all of] those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

So the Disciples and for that matter all who believe in Christ as Personal Savior are cleansed of sin relative to eternal life at the point when they "heard the word of truth, the gospel of...salvation.." and then trusted in the Lord for their salvation.

b) [Compare Ro 10:13-14]:

(v. 13) "For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

(v. 14) How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of Whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?"

4) FURTHERMORE, THE DISCIPLES AND ALL INDIVIDUALS BECOME CLEAN RELATIVE TO DAILY SINS BY EARNEST STUDY, ACCEPTANCE AND OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WORD, AND FIRST MUST COME CONFESSION

So what is it that cleanses one from temporal sin - as exemplified by our Lord's washing the feet of the Disciples in Jn 13:3-17? The answer lies within God's Word:

Earnest study, acceptance and obedience to God's Word is the answer. The study and acceptance of Scripture will lead to an understanding of and an obedience to God's Word. This is then to result in a moment to moment acknowledgment of one's standing before God because it constantly falls short of His righteousness. This acknowledgment is called confession of temporal sin. It provides the opportunity for continuous fellowship with the Almighty Creator God of the universe through the blood, i.e., the atoning work of Jesus Christ, (ref. 1 Jn 1:3-10). Consider a passage in Ephesians which illustrates the effect of God's Word on believers:

a) [Eph 5:25-27]:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church [the body of believers in Christ in this age] and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word..."

"water" = the Holy Spirit, cp Jn 3:5, Jn 7:38-39

"cleansing her by the washing with water through the word..." = So God the Holy Spirit cleanses the believer of impurity - He cleanses us of all eternal and temporal sin - through the believer's study and acceptance and obedience to God's Word. First, the person hears and accepts the gospel of salvation: he trusts alone in Christ alone unto salvation resulting in the cleansing of eternal sin. Then the believer is to continue to study, accept and obey God's Word relative to all things as the Scriptures teach him. Part of the believer's obedience to God's Word is to be continually confessing his sin resulting in the continual cleansing of temporal sin and the constant restoration of fellowship with God, (1 Jn 1:9). Old Testament Scripture reaffirms the doctrine of the cleansing work of God through His Word:

b) [Ps 119:9-16]:

(v. 9) "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.

(v. 10) I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands.

[Notice that it takes God's working in the believer's life through the Scriptures to keep the believer from straying and to keep him on a steady growth pattern toward spiritual maturity]

(v. 11 cont) I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You

["I have hidden Your Word in my heart" = through a study, acceptance and obedience of Scripture, (vv.12-16below). God's Word is the instrumentality which God uses to cleanse a believer]

(v. 12) Praise be to You, O Lord; teach me Your decrees.

[Notice again, that it is God Who ultimately does the teaching]

(v. 13) With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth.

(v. 14) I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.

(v. 15) I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways.

(v. 16) I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word."

[Jn 5:1-3 cont.]:

"You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you" [cont.] =

Notice the phrase "already clean". If the context of Jn 15 is producing works in order to get or to stay saved then this phrase does not belong here. For our Lord is telling the disciples that they are already "clean", i.e., saved as a result of hearing the gospel and believing in it.

So the mechanics of abiding in Christ revolve around God's Word and the gracious work, (grace = undeserved favor), of God in the believer's life of enabling that believer to learn, accept and obey God's Word.

c) [1 Jn 1:1-10]:

One of the key passages to abiding in Christ we have already touched upon and that is found in 1 Jn 1:1-10. Let us examine this passage in First John in order to shed some light on the passage in John chapter 15:

Or continue Jn 15 study:

JOHN CHAPTER 15, (cont.)

ABIDING IN CHRIST (cont.)

D) [Jn 15:3-5]:

(v. 3) "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

(v. 4) 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.

["As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself." = Notice that the subject of John chapter 15 continues to be the fruit bearing of believers and not salvation]

(v. 5) 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."

1) TO ABIDE IN CHRIST IS TO OBEY THE WORD OF GOD:

IF YOU ABIDE IN, (I.E., OBEY) THE WORD THEN YOU ARE A DISCIPLE OF, (I.E., ABIDE IN) CHRIST

Our Lord teaches the Scriptural concept of the word "abide" in the following two passages in the Gospel according to John:

a) [Jn 8:31]:

"Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine:"

"Jews who had believed Him:" = notice that these particular Jews were already believers secure in their eternal life.

It is the disciple who abides in Christ. Believers become disciples as they grow in their practice of abiding in Christ - of studying, learning and obeying the Word of God. "Then (they)...are truly disciples of (the Lords). If a believer does not abide in Christ then he is not for the moment a disciple - although he remains a child of God destined to eternal life in heaven, (John 10:28; Ro 8:38-39)]

b) [Jn 14:6-15, 21-24]:

(v. 6) '''Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

(v. 7) If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.

(v. 8) Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.

(v. 9) Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?

(v. 10) Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works."

"O ...de . Pator ..O ....en Emoi menon"

"But the Father Who in .Me ...abides"

Autos poiei ta erga

He ....does .the works"

[The words that our Lord said were the words of the Father. For it was the Father abiding in Jesus Whose words our Lord spoke]

(v. 11) Believe Me that I am in the Father; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. [the fruit]

[Jesus now states that it is He Who abides in the Father. So the works - the fruit - that our Lord performed was evidence of His abiding in God the Father. And here is the application to believers which clearly defines the Scriptural meaning of abiding in Christ in John chapter 15]:

(v. 12) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who [steadfastly - continuously] believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father

["O .......................pisteuon ......................eis Eme" =

"The [=He Who] is steadfastly believing in ..Me

"O" refers to the phrase "shall he do" in this verse. So "O" means "he who"

[Jn 14:6-15, 21-24 cont.]:

(v. 12 cont) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who [steadfastly - continuously] believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father

"O .........pisteuon .......................eis .eme

"he who is steadfastly believing in ..Me,

ta ..erga ...a .......ego poio, kakeinos poiesei

the works which I ....do ....also he ...shall do,

kai .meizona touton ......poiesei

and greater .than these he shall do,

oti .........ego pros ton patera_mou poreuomai."

because I.....with the .Father.My...go."

["pros" = 'with' in an intimate and equal sense with God the Father - only God can do that. Therefore Jesus Christ is God]

"steadfastly believing" = continuously and steadfastly and actively believing = "pisteuon" ....................... = nominative singular masculine present active participle, agreeing in case, number and gender with the subject "he".

And "pisteuon" is in the present tense stressing a moment to moment activity of believing.

And "pisteuon" is in the active voice indicating that it is the subject "he" that is actively involved in doing the believing himself - he himself is responsible for doing the believing.

And "pisteuon" is a participle - a verb which is used as an adjective, usually identified with the 'ing' ending at the end of a verb such as to believe. The present active participle in verse 12 stresses a continual active, steadfast condition of trusting, of abiding in Christ - of a constant following of His commands as a result of continuously trusting in Who He is and the truth of what He says to do in order to do the divine good works which God has appointed the believer to do, (Eph 2:10).

(v. 13) And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

(v. 14) If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it

(v. 15) If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

['If you love Me - that is to say - if you abide in Me - then you will keep my commandments - you will produce fruit']

(v. 21) He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.

(v. 22) Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?'

(v. 23) Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.

(v. 24) He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's Who sent Me.'

To love our Lord - to abide in Christ is to keep His word - His commandments - the words of the Father.

2) TO ABIDE IN CHRIST IS TO REMAIN IN HIM

a) INTRODUCTION: FRUITFULNESS IS THE RESULT OF THE SON'S LIFE BEING REPRODUCED IN A DISCIPLE

[Edwin A Blum writes, (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Walvoord & Zuck Editors, Victor Books, USA, 1988, p. 325)]:

"Fruitfulness is the result of the Son's life being reproduced in a disciple.

[Just as everything our Lord thought, said and did was from the Father, (Jn 14:7-10). So we believers are to emulate the Lord in thought, word and deed through the constant study and obedience to God's Word]

b) TO ABIDE IN CHRIST FIRST MEANS TO ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR UNTO ETERNAL LIFE

The disciple's part is to "remain" [abide]. The word "remain", [abide] a key word in John's theology, is meno which occurs 11 times in this chapter, 40 times in the entire Gospel, and 27 times in John's epistles. What does it mean to "remain"? It can mean, first to accept Jesus as Savior........

i) [Jn 6:54, 56]

c) TO ABIDE IN CHRIST SECOND MEANS TO CONTINUE = PERSEVERE = ENDURE IN YOUR FAITH IN GOD AND OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD

....Second, it can mean to continue or persevere in believing................

ii) [Jn 8:31-32]:

(v. 31) "Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

(v. 32) and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

...Without faith, no life of God will come to anyone. Without the life of God, "no" real "fruit" can be produced: "Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.".........

A disciple's continual abiding with Jesus ("If a man remains in Me") - and the indwelling of Jesus in a believer "and I in him") - result in abundant "fruit" [Jn 15:8]. But those who do not believe face disaster. "A branch" without life is dead and cut off (v. 2)."

A believer not abiding in Christ - who is fruitless - is dead - useless - is cut off from fellowship with God. Consider what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy relative to how a Christian lives and the effect on his future life in eternity:

iii) [2 Tim 2:11-13]:

(v. 11) "Here is a trustworthy saying:

'For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him;

"For if we died with Him" = Compare Col 3:1-3:

[Col 3:1-3]:

(v. 1) "If then you have been raised up with Christ,

[If then you were raised up with Christ at the point of trusting in Him for eternal life, (Ro 6:1-10)]

(v. 1 cont.) "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things that are on earth.

(v. 2) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

[This is just another way of saying abide in Christ - remain in Him - walk in the light - walk in fellowship, etc.]

(v. 3) For you have died [with Christ, (cp Ro 6:8)] and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

[If we died with Christ we were saved unto eternal life..... If we died with Christ which is by faith alone in Christ alone, (Jn 3:16; 5:24; Eph 2:8-9), then we will live with Him forever, (Ro 6:1-10). If we received the baptism of the Holy Spirit in us which is our identification with the death of Jesus Christ at the point of faith in Christ as Savior then "we we also live with Him", (Ro 6:8b). So verse 11 of 2 Timothy chapter 2 establishes that the subject of the passage is believers. Verse 12 then proposes a situation once one is a believer: the opportunity of enduring - of abiding in Christ - of remaining faithful]:

[2 Tim 2:11-13 cont.]:

(v. 11 cont.) "Here is a trustworthy saying:

'For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him;

(v. 12) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him;.......

[if we, who are believers, who died with Him, who are secure in our eternal life, (Eph 1:13-14), endure the difficulties and testing and live a faithful, productive life - full of divine good production....]

(v. 12 cont.) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him;

[If we endure as "endure" is defined above- then we believers will not only have eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven; but we will also reign, i.e., corule, with Him. We will share in His glory. Compare with Romans 8:16-17:

[Ro 8:16-17]:

(v. 16) "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" [i.e., born again believers]

(v. 17) Now if we [believers] are children, then we are heirs of God.......................

[unto eternal life in heaven]

(v. 17 cont.) Now if we [believers] are children, then we are heirs of God and

[not only heirs of eternal life in heaven but if we are faithful, as the rest of this verse states, then we are coheirs, i.e., coinheritors of rulership with Jesus Christ]:

(v. 17 cont.) Now if we [believers] are children, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs [coinheritors of rulership] with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings [by taking up our own cross, (Mt 16:24-27)] in order that we may also share in His glory."

So it is those believers who "take up [their] cross and follow" Christ who will reign with Him. Indeed, those who endure by remaining faithful, by abiding in Christ - by producing fruit will also suffer their own peculiar suffering during their lifetime for the sake of Christ.

Those believers who do not abide in Christ will not inherit much in heaven when they get there:

[2 Tim 2:11-13 cont.]:

(v. 12 cont.) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him,

If we disown Him......."

[i.e., act in thought, word and deed in disobedience and unfaithfulness]

If we disown Him, He will also disown us;

[i.e., if we disown Him, He will disinherit, i.e., disown us from our rewards and corulership when we get to heaven. Note that even if we live a faithless life, our Lord will remain faithful to His promise of eternal life]:

(v. 13) if we [believers] are faithless, He [Jesus Christ] will remain faithful [to His promise that] "if we died with Him, we will also live with Him," (v. 11)] For He cannot disown Himself.

[our Lord cannot deny eternal life to those who have become part of His body forever - the body of Christ - the body of believers, the church, (1 Cor 12:13)] Abiding in Christ is the result of and also a requirement of being a disciple of the lord Jesus Christ. Not all believers are His disciples.

Charles C. Bing, pastor of Burleson Bible Church, Burleson, Tx., wrote the following comments relative to discipleship, (G.E.S. Journal, Vol 6, Spring 1993, No. 10, Grace Evangelical Society, 1993, p. 35-36):

"Discipleship concerns the believer's response to the grace received by offering himself to God in submission, obedience, and sacrifice. In salvation, Christ paid the price; in discipleship, the believer pays the price. Therefore, salvation is free, but discipleship is costly. Because they are separate issues, there is no contradiction."

[Mt 16:24]:

["Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If any one wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."]

[Bing, op. cit., p. 39]

"....the requirements [of discipleship] are for anyone who desires to "come after" Christ (Matt 16:24//Mark 8:34//Luke 9:23).....

"come after" (opiso elthein) denotes discipleship. It clearly describes a process, not an event; a committed life of following after Jesus rather than coming to (proselthein) Him for salvation.............."

[Bing, cont., p. 39]:

"Deny himself." This is best interpreted by what the disciples have just heard about Christ's fate. Jesus was about to submit Himself and His own desires to the desire of the Father for Him, which was suffering and death. To deny oneself refers contextually to being mindful of the things of God, not the things of man (Matt 16:23//Mark 8:33)...............................

[Mt 16:23]:

["But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."]

Jesus...speaks of denying oneself that which would obstruct the fulfillment of God's will in the course of following Him. In the passages that deal unquestionably with eternal salvation, there is no mention of self-denial, or one's 'right to organize his own life,' or one's 'denying himself his wants' as a requirement for salvation."

[Lk 9:23]:

["And He was saying to them all, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."]

[Bing, op. cit., pp. 39-40]:

"Take up his cross"..........Luke adds the qualifier 'daily,' which shows this could not refer to salvation because it refers to something that is done repeatedly. Stott is right when he declares, 'Every day the Christian is to die. Every day he renounces the sovereignty of his own will. Every day he renews his unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ.' If this characterizes saving faith and is a condition for salvation....one must repeatedly place his faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord through daily surrender.

[If this were true then one would be subjected daily to condemnation into the Lake of Fire for not having sufficiently surrendered oneself. Then Christ would have to die for oneself all over again]

In other words, salvation would not occur at a point in time. Such a condition is not found elsewhere in the Bible and makes both salvation and assurance impossible.

"Follow Me.".................this phrase speaks of discipleship and denotes the pupil/master relationship. Here Jesus invests the term with the significance of following Him by obeying God's will, that is, by self-denial and taking up the cross....Because following another person is a process, a progression, and requires time, this condition cannot speak of entrance into salvation. This would promote salvation by the imitation of Christ or by adherence to His example, which would be a salvation of works. [contrary to Eph 2:8-9] It is best taken as a term that describes a continuously committed lifestyle.

[Mt 10:9]:

"He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it."]

[Mt 16:21]:

["From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."]

"Loses his life." ....The background of Jesus losing His life physically (on the Cross) and thus metaphorically (to the will of God) has been observed in the previous context (Matt 16:21//Mark 8:31//Luke 9:22). Therefore, those who are to be disciples must also lose their lives to the will of God. This will involve the three conditions just mentioned: denial of one's own desires, suffering in obedience, and continuous following of Christ in the will of God. The denial of one's own desires in order to obey the will of God is amplified by the following rhetorical question: 'For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Matt 16:26; cf. Mark 8:36//Luke 9:25). If a man chose not to deny himself and not to pursue the will of God, but to pursue his own selfish and worldly desires, he would lose his soul (i.e., his life....................."

[i.e., he would lose his actual physical life by dying early and suffer loss when he gets to heaven due to what he did not do with his life in terms of what he will be limited to for the rest of eternity]

".....When Jesus says "Whoever loses his life for My sake,' the sense is certainly not eternal destruction, for He says this one will then 'find it,' which is something good. Conversely, it fits well that what one may lose when he tries to save his life (preserve himself from the hardships of self-denial and cross-bearing) is life in the essential qualitative sense (i.e., experiencing God's life in this life, John 17:3), not the eternal soul. The paradox Jesus used has great meaning. What He appears to be saying is this: 'Whoever desires to preserve himself from the hardships of God's will of self-denial and cross-bearing will in fact forfeit the essential quality (= true spiritual value) of the present life he is trying to preserve. On the other hand, whoever forfeits himself to God's will of self-denial and hardships will discover the greater essential quality (spiritual value) of the present life he was willing to forfeit.' This interpretation would therefore not describe eternal salvation, but a higher quality of experience with God in this life, with implications for the eschatological life [final world events - life in the end times - in the millennium]......."

[Mt 10:32-33]:

[(v. 32) "Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in heaven.

(v. 33) "But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in heaven."]

[Mt 16:27]:

["For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds"]

[Mk 8:38, cp Lk 9:26]:

["For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."]

[pp. 44-45]" 'Whoever is ashamed of Me.'

Mark and Luke state a negative condition that if anyone is ashamed of Christ and His words, Christ will also be ashamed of that person at His coming..........................

Matthew 16:27 does not mention shame, but can be correlated with Matt 10:32-33, where the condition is stated in terms of confessing and denying Christ................

The shame....seems to imply a denial of one's identification with Christ in the face of the pressure to live for and identify with the world.............................................

In correlating Matt 10:32-33 with 16:27, it is clear that the issue is some kind of recompense for one's works. Matthew takes care to state that at His coming, Christ 'will reward (apodosei) each according to his works' (16:27). That Jesus makes works the basis of the recompense demands that salvation not be the issue (Eph 2:8-9). Also, the verb apodosei carries the idea of 'recompense' with no inherent sense of whether it is good or bad, so it could speak of positive reward or negative judgment. In Mark and Luke a negative recompense is suggested: Those who were too ashamed to identify with Christ will experience Christ's shame. The effect of Christ's shame is not specified, but one could surmise that for a redeemed and now fully-enlightened believer, this would at least produce agonizing regret. In the parallel passage, Matt 10:32-33, the idea of recompense is good (v32) or bad (v33) accordingly. Christ's confession (or lack of it) in heaven would not relate to the judgment of our salvation, but to an acknowledgment (or lack of it) before the Father of the disciples' unity of fellowship with Christ which is recompensed in an unspecified but appropriate way. (However, one might compare 2 Tim 2:12, where reigning with Christ is the specific reward.).............."

[2 Tim 2:12]:

["If we endure, we shall also reign with Him;

If we deny Him, He also will deny us;"]

[p46] "Jesus' teaching on discipleship took place well into His ministry and was addressed primarily to His disciples as a further revelation of the kind of commitment He desired of His already saved followers. He explained these conditions against the background of His own commitment that would lead to His death in order to invest them with the fullest significance for those who also desired to follow God's will.

[Mt 10:37]:

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."

[Lk 14:26]:

["If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate....[i.e., by comparison of his love for Me]

[Lk 14:26 cont.]:

"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple."]

[Mt 10:37]:

["He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."]

"Hate your family"(Matt10:37//Luke 14:26).

[Bing, op. cit., p. 47]:

" 'We must be unquestionably loyal to Him.' .....this interpretation does not apply to the unsaved, for one more naturally learns love and loyalty on the basis of what Jesus has done in redemption and forgiveness. The Bible teaches that God offers salvation to people as sinners, that is, apart from their love and loyalty to Christ (Rom 5:6-8; 1 John 4:10).

[Ro 5:6-8]:

(v. 6) "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

(v. 7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

(v. 8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

[1 Jn 4:10]:

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

Even thus softened (as a Semitic figure of speech), such a devoted love for God over blood relationships would be an extraordinary demand for [unsaved] sinners who have had no experience of Christ's redeeming love.

Furthermore, it cannot speak of salvation because Matthew records that any loyalty that preempts loyalty to Christ makes or shows one to be "not worthy" of Christ (Matt 10:37). The statement about unworthiness seems to imply the converse, that one can be worthy of Christ. However, the unsaved are unworthy of Christ and His salvation because they do not believe, not because they are loyal to family ahead of Christ. Conversely, no amount of loyalty to God or any other form of good deed makes a sinner worthy of Christ's righteousness. One can only be worthy for rewards.

Like the previous demands, this demand cannot speak of salvation. It is truth which brings believers into a deeper relationship with Jesus as Lord through their loyalty to Him.

[Jn 15:3-5 cont.]:

(v. 3) "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

(v. 4) 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.

(v. 5) "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."

2) TRUE BELIEVERS MAY NOT ABIDE IN CHRIST AND THEN THEY WILL SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCE OF LOSS OF ETERNAL REWARDS BUT NOT LOSS OF SALVATION

Scripture also teaches of the possibility that true believers who are secure in their eternal life may not abide in Christ - i.e., obey our Lord's commandments and produce divine good works - fruit - for the kingdom of God and there will be consequences:

I) EXCERPT FROM GALATIANS CHAPT. 5:

~~~gal5v26tc

GALATIANS CHAPTER 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I) Gal 5:13-21

A) TRUE BELIEVERS CAN & DO COMMIT SINS

1) INTRODUCTION

a) Eph 4:22-24

b) Ro 6:6-7

c) Ro 6:12-14

2) CLEAR EXAMPLES IN SCRIPTURE OF GENUINE BELIEVERS WHO DID NOT PERSEVERE IN GOOD WORKS

a) INTRODUCTION

b) SOLOMON

c) MANY BELIEVERS IN CORINTH

d) ONE BELIEVER AT CORINTH

e) A NUMBER OF BELIEVERS IN CORINTH WERE SICK, SOME DEAD

f) DEMAS

g) JAMES REFERS TO TURNING BACK FELLOW BELIEVERS WHO HAVE WANDERED FROM THE TRUTH

h) CONCLUSION

i) RO 8:7-8

II) Gal 5:21b

A) THOSE [BELIEVERS] WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD =

1) BELIEVERS ARE BEING WARNED NOT UNBELIEVERS

2) THIS IS A WARNING TO BELIEVERS WITH CONSEQUENCES IF THEY DO NOT HEED IT, NOT AN EXHORTATION TO BE FAITHFUL BECAUSE BELIEVERS WILL AUTOMATICALLY INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD THUS FALSELY EQUATING INHERITING THE KINGDOM WITH INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE

a) INTRODUCTION

b) "THOSE WHO DO SUCH THINGS" = REFERS TO GENUINE BELIEVERS NOT UNBELIEVERS

c) GALATIANS 5:21B IS A WARNING WITH A CONSEQUENCE NOT A SIMPLE EXHORTATION

i) Gal 6:8

ii) Ro 3:22b-24

3) SINCE CLEAR PASSAGES ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE TEACH THAT ETERNAL LIFE IS SECURE IN THE BELIEVER, LOSS OF SALVATION CANNOT BE IN VIEW

a) THE BIBLE TEACHES ETERNAL SECURITY

i) REF: ETERNAL SECURITY, DETAILED STUDY

b) BUT INHERITANCE AND CO-RULERSHIP IS NOT A GUARANTEE

4) INHERITING THE KINGDOM OF GOD CANNOT BE REFERRING TO INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE BECAUSE FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD:

a) 1 Cor 15:50

5) SO THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF INHERITANCES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL

a) INTRODUCTION

b) THE INHERITANCE OF BEING LET INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD, OF INHERITING ETERNAL LIFE AS A FREE GIFT FROM GOD

i) Heb 1:14

ii) Lk 18:18

iii) Mk 10:17

iv) Lk 10:25

v) Eph 2:8-9

vi) Ro 3:22b-24

vii) Titus 3:5-7

c) THE INHERITANCE OF CO-OWNERSHIP AND CO-RULERSHIP OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS A RESULT OF A FAITHFUL LIFE

i) Eph 5:1-14: NO ONE WHO IS IMMORAL HAS AN INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST

ii) 1 Cor 6:9-11: BELIEVERS WHO LIVE UNFAITHFUL LIVES WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD

iii) Col 1:10-12: LIVE A WORTHY LIFE AND THE BELIEVER WILL SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT

iv) Col 3:23-24: WORK FOR THE LORD SO THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INHERITANCE IN HEAVEN FROM HIM AS A REWARD

v) 2 Timothy 2:11-13: IF BELIEVERS ENDURE, EVEN SUFFER, THEY WILL THEN SHARE IN THE LORD'S GLORY AND REIGN WITH HIM

COL 3:1-3

RO 8:16-17

vi) TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND BE WORTHY: CONFESS AND BE CONFESSED BEFORE THE FATHER OR DENY AND BE DENIED YOUR INHERITANCE

MT 10:32-33, 37-39

MT 16:27

EPH 2:8-9

MK 8:38

vii) Mt 5:1-3, 5, 10-12: THE BEATITUDES

B) CONCLUSION:

1) INTRODUCTION

a) ETERNAL SECURITY, DETAILED STUDY

2) THE REFORMED PERSEVERANCE VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

b) EVALUATION

i) ETERNAL SALVATION IS NOT CONDITIONED ELSEWHERE IN SCRIPTURE UPON PERSEVERING IN GOOD WORKS

ii) SCRIPTURE PROVIDES CLEAR EXAMPLES OF GENUINE BELIEVERS WHO WERE NOT FAITHFUL

iii) GALATIANS CHAPTER 5 IS ADDRESSED TO GENUINE BELIEVERS NOT UNBELIEVERS

iv) PAUL SAYS THAT GENUINE BELIEVERS CAN WALK IN THE FLESH

v) FUTURE JUDGMENT OF THE BELIEVER'S WORKS FOR REWARDS IN HEAVEN IS IN VIEW, NOT SALVATION

Jn 3:18

vi) THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF ASSURANCE OF SALVATION IS IGNORED

1 JN 5:12-13

vii) THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF WORKS SALVATION IS PROMOTED

3) THE WORTHY WALK VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

b) EVALUATION

i) BELIEVERS ARE IN VIEW, NOT UNBELIEVERS

ii) THE CONTEXT OF A WARNING WITH CONSEQUENCES IS NOT ADDRESSED

4) THE PRESENT REWARDS VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

b) EVALUATION

i) ONE MUST BE RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD IN ORDER TO INHERIT THE KINGDOM

ii) PRESENT BLESSINGS IN THIS AGE CANNOT BE EQUATED WITH FUTURE INHERITANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

5) THE FUTURE REWARDS VIEW

a) EXPLANATION

b) EVALUATION:

THE FUTURE REWARDS VIEW ANSWERS ALL OF THE SHORTCOMINGS OF THE PRECEDING VIEWS

i) It does not suggest that persevering in good works is a condition of eternal salvation in addition to believing in Christ.

ii) It has no difficulty with the many examples in Scripture of genuine believers who walked in the flesh.

iii) It sees those being addressed as genuine believers, as the context clearly shows.

iv) It has no argument with the fact that the context acknowledges the possibility that genuine believers might walk in the flesh.

v) It is completely compatible with the ethical nature of the passage and the fact that judgment according to one's works is in view.

vi) It does not eliminate assurance of salvation.

vii) It does not produce a works - salvation mentality.

viii) It is in harmony with the eschatological aspect of the expression found in 1 Cor 15:50.

ix) And, it does find in the passage a clear warning to believers

6) FINAL NOTE ON GAL 5:19-21

~~~gal5v26tc

[JOHN CHAPTER 15 CONT.]

[Jn 15:1-14 cont.]:

E) [Jn 15:5]:

(v. 5) "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."

1) BELIEVERS MUST ABIDE IN CHRIST IN ORDER TO BEAR FRUIT

This verse indicates that believers must abide in Christ and He in them, i.e., remain in fellowship with Him, so that they produce fruit - divine good works. Otherwise they produce nothing at all:

a) [Compare 2 Cor 3:5]:

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God."

F) [Jn 15:6]:

"Unless anyone 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."

1) UNLESS BELIEVERS ABIDE IN (ARE FAITHFUL) TO OUR LORD THEY ARE CAST OUT OF FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM MUCH LIKE THE FRUITLESS BRANCHES WHICH ARE CUT OFF FROM THE VINE AND BURNED

Following the original text with the English rendering below indicates that our Lord is comparing the fruitless branches with the an unfaithful believer's fruitless life's works.

"Ean_me tis ........meine en emoi

"Unless ...anyone abide .in Me,

eblethe ...exo os to .klema

he is cast out as the branch,

kai ...................................................exeranthe, .kai

and [the branch, not the believer] is dried up, and

sunagousin .auta

they gather them [the branches, plural - not the believer, sing.]

kai .eis ......pur ...................................ballousin

and into a fire [the branches are] cast

kai .................................kaietai"

and [the branches are] burned"

2) THE BRANCHES (PLURAL) ARE PICTURED AS CAST AND BURNED, NOT THE UNABIDING BELIEVER, (SINGULAR)

[Exposition of the Gospel of John. Chapter 51. CHRIST THE TRUE VINE, John 15:1-6, http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/John/john_51.htm]:

'''If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6). This is another verse which has been much misunderstood, and it is really surprising to discover how many able commentators have entirely missed its meaning. With scarcely an exception, Calvinistic expositors suppose that Christ here referred to a different class from what had been before Him in the three previous verses. Attention is called to the fact that Christ did not say, "If a branch abide not in me he is cast forth," but "If a man abide not in me." But really this is inexcusable in those who are able, in any measure, to consult the Greek. The word "man" is not found in the original at all! Literally rendered it is, "unless any one abide in me he is cast out as the branch" (Bagster’s Interlinear). The simple and obvious meaning of these words of Christ is this: If any one of the branches, any believer, continues out of fellowship with Me, he is "cast forth." It could not be said of any one who had never "come" to Christ that He does not abide in Him. This is made the more apparent by the limitation in this very verse: "he is cast forth as a branch." Let it be remembered that the central figure here employed by the Lord has reference to our sojourn in this world, and the bringing forth of fruit to the glory of the Father. The "casting forth" is done by the Husbandman, and evidently had in view the stripping of the believer of the gifts and opportunities which he failed to improve. It is similar to the salt "losing its savor" (Matthew 5:13). It is parallel with Luke 8:18: "And whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have." f17 It is analogous to that admonition in 2 John 8: "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward."

But what is meant by, "Men gather them, and cast into the fire, and they are burned"? Observe, first, the plural pronouns. It is not "men gather him and cast into the fire, and he is burned," as it would most certainly have been had an unbeliever, a mere professor, been in view. The change of number here is very striking, and evidences, once more, the minute accuracy of Scripture. "Unless any one abide in me, he is [cast] forth as a branch, and men gather them and cast into the fire and they are burned." The "them" and the "they" are what issues from the one who has been cast forth "as a branch." And what is it that issues from such a one—what but dead works: "wood, hay, stubble"! and what is to become of his "dead works." 1 Corinthians 3:15 tells us: "If any man’s work shall be burned (the very word used in John 15:6!), he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." Lot is a pertinent example: he was out of fellowship with the Lord, he ceased to bear fruit to His glory, and his dead works were all burned up in Sodom; yet he himself was saved!

One other detail should be noticed. In the original it is not "men gather them," but "they gather them." Light is thrown on this by Matthew 13:41, 42: "The Son of man shall send forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity: And shall east them into a furnace of fire: There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Note the two distinct items here: the angels gather "all things that offend" and "them which do iniquity." In the light of John 15:6 the first of these actions will be fulfilled at the session of the judgment-seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), the second when He returns to the earth.

Here then is a most solemn warning and heart-searching prospect for every Christian. Either your life and my life is, as the result of continuous fellowship with Christ, bringing forth fruit to the glory of the Father, fruit which will remain; or, because of neglect of communion with Him, we are in immense danger of being set aside as His witnesses on earth, to bring forth only that which the fire will consume in a coming Day. May the Holy Spirit apply the words of the Lord Jesus to each conscience and heart.'''

3) THE VALUE OF EVERY BELIEVER'S LIFE IS TESTED BY FIRE: WHATEVER IS FRUITLESS WILL INDEED BE BURNED UP BUT NOT THE BELIEVER HIMSELF

If believers do not abide in Christ then their lives are considered worthless as the fruitless branches in a vineyard which are burned up. The unfaithful believers, however, are not burned up themselves but the value of their lives - their unfaithful works is destroyed, (ref. 1 Cor 3:11-15). There are consequences, Scripture indicates, for what believers do with their lives but never loss of salvation:

For faithful believers: rewards and happiness.

For unfaithful believers: discipline and sorrow

The Amplified and the New International Version, (N.I.V.), Bible translations add a bit more to the understanding of this verse:

[Jn 15:6 cont. Amplified]:

"If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out [of fellowship with God] as a broken-off branch [which the vinedresser found without fruit and cut off himself from the vine] and [that branch] withers. Such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire and they are burned."

"thrown out as a broken off branch" = a believer who does not abide in Christ - who is not walking by faith in Him and obeying His commands according to God's Word - then that child of God is cut off from fellowship with Almighty God but not out of eternal life.

[Jn 15:6 cont. N.I.V.]:

"If anyone does not remain in Me, he IS LIKE a branch that is thrown away and [which] withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."

The picture of the worthless, fruitless branches having been "cast out", "dried up", "gathered", "cast into a fire", "burned" is portrayed by Jesus. Our Lord cannot be saying that believers, (v.3), who don't produce fruit will be likewise condemned to hell. The pivotal word is "like" translated from the Greek word = "os". The vine branches which are fruitless and therefore cut off and burned do not correspond to the false doctrine that believers who are fruitless and as a result are to be burned in the Lake of Fire. The fruitless child of God is cast out of fellowship with God, but not into the Lake of Fire.

The unfruitful believer is compared to the unfruitful branches which are cut off and burned. It says that they are like the branches that are burned because the branches were unfruitful. It does not say that the believers will be burned in hell like the unfruitful branches are burned were burned in a temporal fire.

a) MATTHEW CHAPTER 22

On the other hand, it is the worthless works of the faithless believer which are indeed burned up just as the worthless branches of a grapevine but not the believer himself:

b) [1 Cor 3:11-15]:

~~~1cor3v15

(v. 11) "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

["foundation....which is Jesus Christ" = The foundation which is the complete salvation unto eternal life of an individual which is exclusively and solely through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (Acts 4:12; Jn 14:6; Eph 2:8-9)]

(v. 12) Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, [bearing fruit as a believer who abides in Christ] [or] wood, hay, straw [bearing worthless human centered activity - unfruitful behavior reflecting a life which is not abiding in Christ]

[Now once one is saved one then begins to build upon this foundation. One may build with eternally valuable gold, silver and precious stones, i.e., divine good works; or with valueless and destructible wood, hay and straw, i.e., human centered works, (or perhaps no works at all - just a sinful lifestyle). The building that a believer's lifestyle is forming upon the foundation of salvation in Christ is representative of the reward that a believer receives when he gets to heaven]

(v. 13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day [of the Judgment Seat of Christ, (ref. 2 Cor 5:10)] will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test [not the man himself - his nature relative to eternal life but] the quality of each man's work.

["the Day" = a term which signifies the day when our Lord will begin preparations to and then return in judgment and rule the earth from Jerusalem, (ref. Isaiah - details of the "Day" described throughout the entire book. 2 Thes 2:1-2 and I Thes 4:13-18 point to the rapture which is the beginning of the "Day" of the Lord when He brings believers dead and alive up to him in heaven in preparation to return to the earth for His Millennial rule.

"Fire will test the quality of each man's work" = This is not referring to the judgment fire of unbelievers to eternal damnation, (ref. Rev 20:11-15), but a different and earlier judgment fire which will judge the works of believers relative to receiving rewards in heaven and not the believer himself relative to eternal life. It is the unacceptable works that a believer does which are referred to as being "burned up" and not the believer himself. For the believer without acceptable works truly does end up being saved in spite of an unfaithful life because he has already been judged for that at the cross as a result of his faith alone in Christ alone foundation built for him by God Himself, (v. 11).

Notice that the fire here is put to the works of the man - the value of what that man did while he was physically alive on earth; and NOT to the man himself]

[1 Cor 3:11-15 cont.]:

(v. 14) If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, [after being subject to the fire] he shall receive a reward.

["any man's" = 'any believer's', since the context is limited to the population of those who are building on the foundation of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, (v. 11).

"it" = the "foundation" of eternal life which is faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v.11).

Notice that it is a reward that the believer receives for doing the divine good work that God had appointed him to do, (Eph 2:10). If the believer's work survives the fire test, (gold, silver and precious stones are typically refined by fire and not destroyed), then a reward will be forthcoming. The believer's divine good works did not provide for him eternal life - that foundation had already been built by his faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, (v. 11). So what the man built on that foundation of eternal life with his divine good works, ("gold, silver, precious stones"), was a reward when he got to heaven in addition to eternal life.

And the reverse is also true, if the believer does not abide in Christ, producing works which are not divine good, they will be consumed in the fire, suffering the loss of eternal rewards]:

(v. 15) "If any man's work is burned up, [wood, hay, straw] he shall SUFFER LOSS; but he himself shall be saved [unto eternal life], yet so as [one who barely escapes with his life] through fire [saving nothing of his belongings except himself - he goes to heaven the poorest of paupers for the rest of eternity."

Notice that if the believer's works were burned up - i.e., if the works did not survive the test of fire, then that believer will actually suffer loss - suffer in heaven for the loss of what he could have received but did not because he wasted his time on earth. But that believer, the Scripture says, will still remain saved unto eternal life, barely entering onto heaven's shores as one escaping to safety from a burning house - without bringing anything out of the burning house but himself.

Thus the representation of the fruitless believer's life relative to the quality of his life in heaven is burned up, leaving nothing of value for him with which to receive rewards and build his life in eternity in heaven. His life in heaven will be limited for all eternity!

~~~1cor3v15

The Apostle James wrote an epistle which speaks of a man's faith and a man's works. Chapter two of this epistle is especially relevant to the study of abiding in Christ. The preservation of a Christian's life value unto rewards on earth and in heaven is taught as that which must be of vital concern for the believer. And by so doing, the book of James distinguishes between the doctrines of eternal life and eternal rewards:

[Jas chapter 2]:

Or continue Jn 15 study:

JOHN CHAPTER 15, (cont.)

ABIDING IN CHRIST (cont.)

G) [Jn 15:7-11]:

(v. 7) "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.

(v. 8) By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. [Note that the result of abiding in Christ is not salvation but the fruit of divinely produced good works - the production of which proves out a believer's discipleship, not his salvation. Therefore this passage cannot be relative to salvation]

(v. 9) Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you, abide in My love. [And then our Lord goes on to explain how to abide in His love]:

(v. 10) If you [disciples] keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love."

[So abiding in God's love, i.e., being in fellowship with God, involves keeping God's commandments: those which are applicable to the New Testament believer, as opposed to not keeping them, i.e., having sin in one's life that is not accounted for with God. Keeping the commandments then results in the joy of the believer: fellowship with God]:

The concept of believers moving in and out of fellowship is taught in John chapter 15 by our LORD to His disciples who most assuredly are believers:

H) [Jn 15:11]:

(v. 11) These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."

1) [Recall 1 Jn 1:3-4]:

(v. 3) "Who we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

(v. 4) And these things we write, so that your joy may be made complete." The context of John chapter 15 cannot be salvation because it focuses on keeping God's commandments and abiding in God's love. This has to be learned by the believer through continual study and obedience to Scripture - moving on to spiritual maturity over time. Obedience to the Word and loving God is never perfectly constant with any believer, (I Jn 1:8, 10, Jn 15:8-10), nor is it a specific requirement for becoming one. Notice that the term 'abide in Christ's love' is synonymous with 'having fellowship' with God.