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John 15 _600x450

 

Religion is meant to be in everyday life a thing of unspeakable joy.  And why do so many complain that it is not so?  Because they do not believe that there is no joy like the joy of abiding in Christ and in His love, and being branches through whom He can pour out His love on a dying world.

Andrew Murray, The True Vine

 

We know the meaning of the word except.  It expresses some indispensable condition, some inevitable law.  “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”  There is but one way for the branch to bear fruit, there is no other possibility: It must abide in unbroken communion with the vine.

Not of itself, but only of the vine, does the fruit come.  Christ had already said: “Abide in me”; in nature the branch teaches us the lesson so clearly.  It is such a wonderful privilege to be called and allowed to abide in the heavenly Vine.  One might have thought it needless to add these words of warning.  But no – Christ knows so well what a renunciation of self is implied in this:  “Abide in me”; how strong and universal the tendency would be to seek to bear fruit by our own efforts;  how difficult it would be to get us to believe that actual, continuous abiding in Him is an absolute necessity!  He insists upon the truth:  Not of itself can the branch bear fruit; unless it abides, it cannot bear fruit.  “No more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

But must this be taken literally?  Must I, as exclusively and manifestly and unceasingly and absolutely as the branch exists in the vine, be equally given up to find my whole life in Christ alone?  I must indeed!!  The except ye abide is as universal as the except it abide.  The no more can ye admits of no exception or modification.  If I am to be a true branch, if I am to bear fruit, if I am to be what Christ as Vine wants me to be, then my whole existence must be as exclusively devoted to abiding in Him as that of the natural branch is to abiding in its vine.

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