Abiding in Christ delivers us from judgment
In John 15:1-5, Jesus has told the disciples that he is the vine and he’s compared his followers to the branches. Beginning in verse 6, Jesus warns those who do not follow him.
Jesus uses powerful imagery to point to himself as the source of life. He is the true vine, referring to grapevines. And life is found on that vine. Life is found in being part of the vine, in growing on the vine, in receiving your nutrients from the vine.
In John 15:6, Jesus says: If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
At the end of the harvest, fruitless branches would be cut off of the vine and thrown away. That is what Jesus is alluding to here. And Jesus is talking about a specific type of person.
He’s talking about a person who’s within the church, within the group of believers, within the vine, but who’s not actually bearing fruit on the vine because they’re not actually alive on the vine.
And they never truly were. On the night before he went to the cross, the most obvious example of this was Judas. But while Judas might have been the first person to disingenuously follow Jesus, he was not the last.
And I talk about this because it’s an important warning to the church.
That there are frauds..
That there are people in churches who say they’re Christians, who profess to be believers but who aren’t really walking with Jesus, who don’t really know Jesus, who don’t really believe in the gospel and who have not been born again.
And while those people can fool a church, fool a pastor, fool their spouse, they will not fool the Lord.
Where is your hope?
It is the blood of Christ that cleanses us for our sins. It is his death to sin for us and his resurrection and faith in that which gives us eternal life. It is that and nothing else.
If you want to rely on yourself, if your hope is in your goodness and that is why you believe God will accept you, then your faith is not in Jesus, your faith is in yourself.
In Matthew 7, Jesus talks of the people in the community who were active participants but who were never genuine believers.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
My point isn’t to make a believer doubt. But the point of this is to make a person who doesn’t believe in the saving work of Christ, and that alone, to question where their faith, hope, and assurance are found.
For the person who abides in Christ, and for that person alone, you are delivered from God’s judgment, and the reason for that is because of Christ and what he has done.
That we are sinners, but Jesus redeems and forgives us of our sins when we have faith in him.
Being a Christian in Name Only, but not actually believing in Jesus counts for nothing. It is Jesus who justifies and forgives when we come to him as Lord and savior. I was reading about Kobe beef this week. Kobe beef is the holy grail of beef. True Kobe beef has rigorous standards of quality and marbling. It’s a specific type of cow in a specific region of Japan to truly be kobe beef.
A 2016 report from Inside Edition found that there were only 8 restaurants in the entire United States that sold genuine kobe beef. And it is not sold in retail.
The upscale steakhouse McCormick and Schmicks advertised a kobe burger with beef that was not from Japan, but was from Kentucky. Class-action lawsuit. Restaurants and grocers have tried to call things kobe beef that aren’t.
And my point is this: just because you say something is something doesn’t make it so.
Just because you SAY something is kobe beef, doesn’t make it kobe beef. Again, it has to be the right type of cow, from the right region, to the right standards.
Anything else is inauthentic.
A person can say that they’re a Christian, but if they do not have faith in Jesus, if he is not the savior in whom they have placed their hope, and they don’t believe that he died for them and rose for them, then it’s not Christianity, regardless of what you call it.
But the person who believes in Jesus and who abides in Christ is delivered from God’s judgment.
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