John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
These are the blessed words spoken by our Lord in His parable of the Vine and the Branches.
The union between the vine and the branch is the closest possible. One only needs to look at the branch to see how it is grown in and woven into the parent stem; in fact, the branch is part of the vine. The life which is in the vine, the sap that circulates there, is also in the branch and produces the fruit. If the branch is separated from the vine, it withers away and dies. This union is used by our Lord as an illustration of the intimate union of the true believer with Himself. Our union with Him is as close, and just as real, as the union of the branch with the vine.
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
When the Lord Jesus speaks of the branches that bear no fruit, that are cast forth to wither and be burned, He does not mean true believers in Himself, but such who profess to believe, who signify thereby identification with Him, but who, in reality, have never been joined to the Lord by His Spirit. A man may appear outwardly to be a branch, may profess to be one with Christ, when he is actually no such thing. A true branch in the Vine witnesses to its vital union with Christ by bearing fruit. Well has it been said: "Two principles we must never let go. One principle is that no one can be a branch in Christ, a living member of His body, who does not bear fruit. Vital union with Christ not evidenced by life is an impossibility, and a blasphemous idea. The other principle is that no living branch of the true Vine, no believer in Christ, will ever finally perish. They that perish may have looked like believers, but they were not."
But oh! How we need to be reminded constantly of His Word: "Without Me ye can do nothing." He tells us by these words: "You need Me every moment, every step of the way." And what is the answer of our hearts, hearts that know Him? "I need Thee, Lord! I crave greater dependence upon Thee, a closer walk with Thee, a more real enjoyment of that union into which Thy grace has brought me!" Such is our desire and prayer. It is the longing of the new nature. "Without Me ye can do nothing."
We must realize our dependence upon the Lord. In all our spiritual life, in fruit-bearing, in conflict, in everything-- we need Him. Apart from Him we have no strength, no power, no joy, no peace, no happiness. Therefore He exhorts us: "Abide in Me." What does it mean? It means that we must remain in Him by a living faith that casts itself upon Him as a living Lord. It has been transcribed in the following manner: "Cling to Me! Stick fast to Me! Live the life of close and intimate communion with Me! Get nearer and nearer to Me! Roll every burden upon Me! Cast your whole weight on Me! Never let go your hold on Me for a moment! Be rooted in Me! Do this-- I shall never fail you."
John 15:7-8 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
May His grace help us daily to do this, and we shall find more and more that all our springs are indeed in Christ, that without Him we can do nothing, and that with Him we can do all things.
All that Thou hast, Thou hast for me,
All my fresh springs are hid in Thee;
In Thee I live, while I confess
I nothing am, yet all possess
O Savior, teach me to abide
Close sheltered at Thy wounded side;
Each hour receiving grace on grace,
Until I see Thee face to face.
Arno Clemons Gaebelein
Written by Arno Clemons Gaebelein in 1913