|Cult of Calvinism|
|Remain in Me or be Cast into the Fire|
"I am the true Vine and my Father is the Vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he cleanses. You are already made clean through the word I spoke to you. Remain in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, neither can you unless you remain in the Vine. I am the Vine and you are the branches. He who remains in me and I in him is he that bears much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not remain in me, he is cast out as a branch and dried up and they are gathered and cast into the fire" (John 15:1-6)
This passage is pretty plain. Christ is the Vine, the Father is the Vinedresser and the disciples are the Vine's branches and receive their life through the Vine. Christ the Vine is exhorting his disciples, the branches of the Vine, that if they do not remain in him by bearing fruit to God they will be cast out as an unfruitful branch and be thrown into the fire. Jesus says that God cleanses the fruitful branches and cast the unfruitful branches into the fire. Notice Jesus says, "these branches of mine He takes away." Jesus teaches they can do nothing apart from the Vine, that is, apart from him. Therefore, Jesus teaches them that they must remain in him in order to bear fruit or be cast into the fire by the Father. He later goes on to command them to love on another and this is the way one remains in him.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. (15:8-9).
One can only remain in Christ if one is first in Christ, in the Vine, and the situation of being cut off from the Vine would be quite useless to teach if it were not within the realm of possibility. This is rather obvious since Jesus is speaking to his own disciples and exhorting them to remain in him. It is rather obvious that it is quite possible for the disciples to not remain in Christ and be cut off by the Father the Vinedresser, which is why he says, "Every branch of Mine that does not bear fruit," and "If a man does not remain in me...." There would be absolutely no point in Jesus making such a statement unless of course being cut off from Christ was indeed a possible scenario. He is exhorting them to remain in him. He has said they are "already clean" and is not telling them to that if they do not bear fruit by remaining in him they will be cut off from him by the Father. Nor does Christ say, "Since you will remain in me..." He rather exhorts them to remain in him, something which is rather pointless if it were impossible to not remain in him and hence be purged from the Vine and thrown into the fire. The teaching is plain; the disciples are in the Vine, in Christ, and must remain in the Vine in order to bear fruit or they will be unfruitful and the Father, the Vinedresser, will cast them out as a branch and throw them into the fire for burning. So unless we want to make Jesus out to be a babbling fool giving his disciples a totally pointless teaching, one must acknowledge that he is teaching the disciples that if they do not remain in him they will be cast out, thrown into the fire and burned. If it were not possible to be severed from Christ as a branch from the Vine, and then cast into the fire for burning, Jesus' teaching here would be then either utterly useless or totally deceptive.
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