John 15:6 – Abiding in the Vine

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (Jn 15:6)

What does it mean to abide in the vine?

You need to have a good answer to that question because Jesus warned that there are consequences for not abiding in the vine. He also said that those who do abide in the vine will bear much fruit:

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. (Jn 15:4)

Many people interpret the words of Jesus as carrots and sticks. They think, if I fail to abide I will be cast out and burned, but if I do abide I will bear much fruit, so I’d better start bearing fruit. Read it like this and Jesus’ words will become a law for you: produce or perish! And that’s going to be a problem because the fruit Jesus is looking for you can’t produce. Apart from Him the only thing you can produce is Frankenfruit!

In this short series on the commands of Jesus, we have seen that Jesus expects us to do impossible things, namely, He expects us to do the same works He did and greater works still. Happily, He has promised that we will do these impossible things because He is in us and we are branches to His vine. Unfruitful branches are not chopped off, but are lifted up out of the dirt. This lifting up and the bearing of fruit in us is something that He does. So far, so good.

But what does it mean to abide or remain in Him? That sounds as if Jesus is putting conditions on us. It sounds like He is saying, you have to do something otherwise you’ll be tossed and burned. But what is the something we must do? I guarantee you that any list of somethings that man comes up with will include keep short accounts with God or confess your sins. This is a classic example of watering down scripture to accommodate human shortcomings. You want something to do? Try this:

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. (1 Jn 3:6, NKJV)

What does God expect of those who abide in Him? Zero sin! Yet many people believe, “whoever abides in Him may sin occasionally – after all, we’re only human – but as long as we quickly confess our sin God will be faithful and just and forgive us our sin.” Well God is faithful and just but you can’t use His goodness to wriggle out of 1 John 3:6. You can’t lower His standards to accommodate your less-than-perfect performance.

A line in the sand

I occasionally get emails from people who are opposed to the gospel of grace. They say we must do everything in the Bible or at least everything that Jesus says. Well Jesus said, “be perfect” (Mt 5:8) – how’s that working out for you? I might just as easily respond with the words of John:

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 Jn 3:6, NIV)

I love this! This verse deals life to those who trust Jesus and utter condemnation to those who don’t. It draws a big fat line in the sand and shouts, “Choose your Savior!” To those who are trusting in their own good behavior this verse declares, “Your best is not good enough. God expects sinless perfection.” Either you must be perfect or you must put your faith in a perfect, representative. Guess who! Jesus is our perfect High Priest (Heb 7:28)! We stand on His sinless performance, not our own.

A promise, not a condition

Jesus told the disciples, you are in me (our imperfections are hidden in His perfection) and I am in you (we carry His sinless DNA). Jesus didn’t sin and He won’t ever sin. If you let Him live His life through you, then without any conscious effort on your part you’re going to start talking and acting just like sinless Jesus. This is a glorious promise for all who believe:

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (1 Jn 3:9)

So what does it mean to abide in the vine? Here’s the answer we’ve all been waiting for…

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. (1 Jn 4:15)

Have you confessed that Jesus is the Son of God? Then God abides in you and you in Him. You may wonder, But how did this happen? All I did was confess. Well you could not have believed and confessed Jesus as Lord unless the Holy Spirit had led you to do so (1 Cor 12:3). The work and the glory are all His. Rest in that!

The trouble is, you can’t rest because somewhere inside there is a little voice that’s asking, Can I abide today and not abide tomorrow? Can I be in the vine one moment and cut off the next? Why would Jesus tell his disciples to abide if there wasn’t any danger of not abiding?

The problem, as usual, is found between our ears. Most of us have grown up with a slave mentality that says our value is determined by what we do. This was certainly true of the disciples who had been born and bred under the law. They were conditioned to think in terms of their performance. This works mindset is also evident in some of our English translations:

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. (Jn 15:4, NIV)

Again, that sounds like a condition. It sounds like Jesus is saying, if your abiding performance is up to scratch, then I will reward you by abiding as well. But it is not a condition to make us sweat; it is a promise to make us rest. In John 15 Jesus goes to great lengths to counter the law-mentality of the disciples. He does this by hitting them with promise after promise:

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. (Jn 15:9)

How does the Father love Jesus? Ask yourself this question: How many miracles or works had Jesus done when the Father declared from heaven, “this is my beloved Son?” None! The Father loves Jesus unconditionally, without any reference to His performance or fruit. That means that Jesus loves us unconditionally! He wants us to rest in His unconditional love.

baby_with_fatherYou’re free? Be free!

Just to recap – if you think abiding is something we must do, then understand that the evidence of abiding is zero sin. This is humanly impossible. The only logical response to the command “abide!” is to trust in Jesus and His performance and quit trying to impress Him with yours. The word “abide” connotes “rest” and “surrender,” not “struggle” and “try harder.”

Trust God, the abiding issue is all settled from His side. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him.” But it may not be settled from your side. You may still be struggling with that old servant mentality. Instead of rest there is insecurity. Instead of joy there is anxiety. Am I in? Can I be cut off? If this is you, let Jesus speak to your insecurity:

I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jn 8:34-36)

The reality is, you are free indeed because Jesus has set you free. The reality is, you are abiding in the vine because you have confessed Him as Lord. But you may not be experiencing that reality. You may feel like you’re not free or you’re not abiding. Although you are a son with a permanent place in the family, you may still think and act like the slave that you used to be. There’s only one solution: renew your mind! Stop living by feelings and start walking by faith. You are abiding in fact, so start abiding in practice.

When Jesus said, “anyone who does not abide in Me is cast out as a branch, withers, and is thrown into the fire,” He was not referring to fruitless Christians. (They are lifted up.) He was describing those who refuse to believe to that He is the Son of God. He was describing those who are looking for life outside of the true vine. If you have confessed Jesus as your Lord, then walk in that the truth: You are free, God Himself abides in you, and as a son or daughter you have a permanent place in His family.

Thank you Jesus!


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93 Comments on John 15:6 – Abiding in the Vine

  1. Cheers Paul, this is great stuff. Although it’s always going to be a journey for me, my Christian life is becoming one of discovery and adventure, rather than my rubbish efforts. I’m starting to wake up to the fact that it actually about discovering who I already am ‘in him’, and not, as the traditional stuff has always taught ….. becoming the person God want’s me to be! It’s a black and white issue for me now. The burned branches you are talking about are ‘in Adam’. When I was born again of ‘imperishable seed’ the old me died. I’m now ‘in Christ’. OR as you put it in the Vine. Blameless in his sight as Eph? I think says. Amazing, utterly. I love 1 John 5 (vs 4&5) on this, it’s all about Jesus … HE HAS OVERCOME!!
    Any chance of commenting on Romans 11, tree/branch stuff? I always felt condemned by that at times!

  2. Well said Paul. I think something that confuses a lot of people is understanding that “sin” and “sinful behavior” are not the same thing. Sin is simply unbelief. There are certain behaviors associated with unbelief. Those behaviors are the things that we’re told to be cautious of, not because we might “fall away” but because continuing in those behaviors gives an appearance of fruit not in keeping with out identity. However, the more we come to understand our identity and position in Christ, the more the Holy Spirit’s fruit is born in us.

  3. Wow! These are such life-giving words! All that Jesus says to us He says in perfect love, and always with the intent of bringing rest and refreshing to us…what a wonderful joy to know that I AM abiding in Him at all times. Lord, renew my mind to this reality every day!

    Thank you so much for sharing…this was such a joy to read today..

    Safely and Permanently Abiding In the Vine,

  4. ..spontaneous joy breakout!!! whooohheee!!!

  5. Thanks!

  6. Hi Paul, this is your last paragraph of Jn 15:6

    “When Jesus said, “anyone who does not abide in Me is cast out as a branch, withers, and is thrown into the fire,” He was not referring to fruitless Christians. (They are lifted up.) HE WAS DESCRIBING THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD. He was describing those who are looking for life outside of the true vine. If you have confessed Jesus as your Lord, then walk in that the truth: You are free, God Himself abides in you, and as a son or daughter you have a permanent place in His family. Thank you Jesus!”

    Question 1: How do you REMAIN IN CHRIST if you are not first IN CHRIST by believing He is the Son of God?

    Question 2: According to your blog on Jn 15:6, it sounds like it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once IN CHRIST to ever be out of Christ, in other words “Once saved forever saved.” So what did Jesus meant when He said, “If anyone DOES NOT REMAIN IN ME, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned”?

    • Answer 1: What does it mean to remain in Christ? Let scripture interpret scripture: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 Jn 4:15) Or if you prefer a literal translation: “Whoever may confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God in him doth remain, and he in God” (YLT)

      Answer 2: If anyone does not remain in me = if anyone does not confess Jesus is the Son of God (see above).

      Those are my answers. What are yours? What do you think Jesus meant by “remain in Christ” if not 1 Jn 4:15)?

      • 1) “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 Jn 4:15) Does it says remain FOREVER?

        2) “If anyone does not REMAIN in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned”?

        The Greek word “remain” is meno, which means “continue to be”. So Jesus was saying, “If anyone does not CONTINUE TO BE in Me…” You have to first be IN before you can CONTINUE to be in right? E.g. I have to be IN my house to CONTINUE to be IN my house right? If I am OUTSIDE of my house, how do I CONTINUE to be IN my house?

      • You still haven’t told me how one remains or continues in Christ. I’m dying to learn.

      • Actually, I want to throw out a way of looking at this verse that nobody here has mentioned. I had also been troubled by this verse for a couple years before I talked to the Lord about it. This is what I “felt” like He said. I’m not guaranteeing it was God, but that’s my source.

        He said, “I was talking to Jews.”

        Jews were God’s children under the Old Covenant. They were his chosen people. They were also many times referred to in the Old Testament as the grapevine in Him. All Jesus’s disciples (whom he was talking too and were Jews), were IN HIM according to the conditions of the Old Covenant. Jesus is asking them to remain his Children, to remain his people by following him into the New Covenant. Because after his crucifixion, they would no longer be IN HIM unless they believed in him because the New Covenant was being establish through faith in Christ.. Consider the passage in Romans 11:17-23…

        In context, he’s saying the Jews, who were IN HIM were broken off because of unbelief, and the result was that salvation was given to the whole world. So by faith we are grafted in. However do not be troubled by, “Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either” and “provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.” He is talking to Gentiles collectively as an entire race (believing and unbelieving), not just individual believers. He is telling them, “Don’t be gloating over Jews now thinking that you are somehow superior to them, for they fell (and we know not all of them fell, because God preserved a remnant) and you may fall also. He is judging the gentiles as a whole, just like he judged the jews as a whole as “fallen” even thought some were saved.

        Thanks, that’s my thoughts on the matter.

      • That’s a really neat revelation Jon Paul. I think there’s something in that. That would certainly be consistent with my impression that Jesus could say one thing and send multiple messages to multiple groups at the same time – a warning to the Jews, a prophecy of imminent judgment, and an invitation to all, all at the same time.

        Incidentally, this is why I DON’T dismiss all the pre-cross teachings of Jesus as merely law.

  7. 1 John 3 (HCSB)
    23 Now this is His command: that we BELIEVE IN THE NAME of His Son Jesus Christ, and LOVE ONE ANOTHER as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commands REMAINS IN HIM, and He in him. And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.

    • Terence, quoting scriptures doesn’t advance the conversation in any meaningful way. (I don’t normally publish comments that cut and paste scripture.) I already know what 1 Jn 3 says. What are you saying? You seem to be saying the same thing I said in my post at the beginning. I’m not sure where you disagree or whether you’ve changed your mind.

      • Paul, at the end of the day it is not what I say, it is what the Word says that matters. You seem to be confident on your views on how to “abide in Christ”, then please explain ALSO what it means to “does not abide (remain) in ME”. To get in must also know how to get out right?

      • I just spent 1500 words telling you what “abide in the vine” means, in the post above – 1500 simple words where I used scripture to interpret scripture as plainly as possible. I took a risk by putting everything out there for all to see. You’ve come along to tell me I’m wrong but you’ve not spent even one word telling me how I’m wrong. I am always open to the possibility I’m wrong, but it’s hard to engage with someone who won’t tell you what they’re thinking. I have the Bible on CD. Talking to you is a bit like putting on that CD and trying to have a conversation with it. Once again, if you have different view on what it means to “abide in the vine/remain in Christ”, feel free to share it. Don’t be shy, put your cards on the table.

      • Luzviminda Hoshino // August 27, 2022 at 11:14 pm //

        If you abide. maybe there is IF because Jesus is still alive and the disciple is not yet bornagain? the Holy Spirit is not yet in them

    • Hi there,
      I hope you don’t mind me commenting, and so long after your initial discussion, but this is a crucial area to be certain of.
      Works don’t justify us in the first place and so cannot be the key to remaining justified- agreed?
      We are justified by faith and once we have it it can’t fail- jesus has prayed it so (Luke 22.32)
      As Paul says here or somewhere else we are conditioned to believing we are judged by performance. Once we have been born again that stops, full stop- afterall there is no one who, having been born again, has ever ceased COMPLETELY (or even close to completely) from sinful behaviour.
      Our need is to renew our mind to this truth.
      I understand that some verses seem to put this into question as you have highlighted. I am not certain why this is- maybe God wants us to keep pondering His Goodness. In addition I know He means for us to stay DEPENDENT on Him through His RHEMA (as opposed to words we intellectually digest) THROUGH His Spirit.
      There ARE however areas where there IS UNARGUABLE CERTAINTY given (as I highlighted above) and importantly these are areas concerning who God is and how he relates to us in the New Covenant.
      Where certain verses SUGGEST an alternative view it is our INTERPRETATION that must be challenged.
      I hope this helps.
      All God’s blessings Terence.

      • Got carried away there and didn’t adress your point Terence!
        I.e. the word REMAINING/ABIDING. IMO this talks about BEING CONNECTED rather than expressing CONTINUATION over a period of time.
        If we EVER abide in Christ we Will ALWAYS continue to do so.
        Once Saved always saved.
        Grace & peace.

    • 1 John 4:15, “ Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”
      This is talk (confess) the walk (Romans 10:4)
      1 John 3:24, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him….”
      This is walk (practice) the talk (1 John 3:7)
      We all know Its not by works, but works should be there. Kind of like, show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.James said that.
      The two must balance themselves, Other wise, it would be confusing.
      Maybe Paul is half wrong and you are half See, “balance”!
      Bottom line, works should replace sin, Titus 2:14. “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” NASB. So it say’s and so it shall be. Thus, If we talk the walk, we shall walk this said, talk! With Gods help,Thanks

  8. Jesus is setting me free of so much legalism I have been exposed to. I used to be confused how to abide in Christ. Most would tell you, you abide by being a good boy or girl. But then I would think, well, when was I ever good enough? I mean my performance level before God is 100 fail before Christ. After Christ I was told its by Grace through Faith I was saved and not of works lest any man should boast, but then told to abide I must work to do so. CONFUSINGGGG.
    anyway I recently came upon the scripture listed above thanks to Father. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 Jn 4:15) whoa… lightbulb went off. no more condemnation. and scripture is making sense! He is restoring and encouraging me. Im already abiding in Christ by confessing him!!! whew..

  9. Tina Aji George // August 20, 2011 at 10:51 am // Reply

    Thank you for the light you threw on the verse.Could you also explain Hebrews 10:26 and 27 in this context?It talks about how those who willfully sin despite the truth have to face the consequence of fire.How do you qualify ‘willfully sinning’? Doesn’t it also include anything bad you do despite knowing better(for eg over eating or indulging in an excess of any kind)?

    • Hi Tina,
      I see no need to qualify “willful sinning” (He 10:26) – this is something works-oriented religious people must do. Neither do I fear punishment (He 10:27) because I know that the punishment that brought me peace was on Him (Is 53:5). I am sure it is quite amusing to hear a religious person try and wriggle their way out of Hebrews 10:26 saying how it doesn’t apply to over-eating and what have you. But this is not a verse any believer needs to fear. The passage is describing those who treat as unholy the blood of the covenant and who insult the spirit of grace. How do you insult grace? By not receiving it or by trying to earn it. In other words, if you live as if God is judging your religious performance, by your actions you are rejecting Christ and you are insulting the spirit of grace. Although He said “it is finished,” by you’re actions you’re saying “no it’s not.”

      In Jesus’ day there were plenty of people who had a personal encounter with Truth Himself yet did not accept what He offered them. Today there are many people who hear the gospel but refuse to accept the gift of His righteousness (Rm 1:17). They just keep on “willfully sinning.” Sure, their may be external changes: they may modify their behavior, they may start going to church, etc. But God is looking for people who will draw near in faith (Heb 10:22). Faith is the only way to receive the gift of grace and be saved (Eph 2:8). If you would like more, here is an article I have written on Heb 10:26.

      • Prasanna Kumar // August 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm //

        Dear brother Paul, Heb.10:26-27 refer to the ‘believers,’ not just those who rejected Christ as you explained. The verses say, “For if WE go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgement, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” The writer who is a believer and saved person is also including himself in the group that might fall into such a danger of punishment equal to that of adversaries. Please throw more light on this verse. Thanks in advance.

      • Dear Prasanna, please see this post on Hebrews 10:26.

  10. Tina Aji George // August 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm // Reply

    Thank you for the prompt reply. I think it’s a real paradigm shift when you begin to see the scriptures from the stand point of grace-and it’s truly liberating!

    Could I have your thoughts on Acts 24:16? Paul is talking about striving to have a good conscience toward God and man and what is Jesus talking about when in John 20:23 he tells His disciples “If you forgive the sins of any,they are forgiven them;if you retain the sins of any they are retained.”?

    • Tina I believe it to be a warning of the literal physical judgement that would be coming soon at the hand of the Romans in 70 AD. I believe 1.5 million Jews lost their lives, but not a single Hebrew follow of JESUS, because they heeded the warning from the author of Hebrews. This is really great truth! We live by HIS life alone and everything else is flesh!

    • chrisvanrooyen // May 28, 2013 at 6:51 am // Reply

      Hi Tina if someone does you wrong and you take offence there is offence if someone does you wrong and you take no offence there is nothing. God did not bring offence into the world he has taken it out of the world he has done his part.

  11. I’ll try to answer this, glory to God. The answer is in Acts 24:14, Paul talks about the WAY (Jn 14:5-6) and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He (Paul) also says in Acts 24:14 that he believes all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets (Moses/Elijah). Paul wrote in Rom 3:20-24… BUT NOW the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW is revealed being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets (V.22 is the answer to what righteousness paul was talking about.). In Hebrews 9:14 it talkes about the conscience and talks about dead works, or religious things people do to try and be right with God. Its not trust in our works (Rom 3:21, 4:5-8) that makes us right with God, but faith in the finished work of Jesus (Acts: 13:38-39, 41 God says in V.41 that HE WORKS THE WORK. Jn 6:29 Jesus explains as well.). Heb 10:22 talks about having a sin (vil) conscience (in its context) and the blood of Jesus has effectively and perfectly removed all our sins (Heb 9:13-14, 1 Jn 1:17). He offered Himself (Jesus) without spot to God, and as He is so are we in this world. Heb 10:2 and 22 explain each other as well, because Christs work is complete our conscience before god should be a confident one (Eph 2:13, Heb 2:19, 1 Jn 3:21, Rom 8:1 NIV). I hope this helps a little, Paul should be able to elaborate better than me but this should help.

  12. Tina Aji George // August 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm // Reply

    Thank you Anthony but I’m still trying to make sense of somethings.Hebrews 10:10 says that the sacrifice of Jesus has paid for us once and for all,right? So how come in the book of Revelation Jesus says that He holds things against various churches? In the book of Corinthians(1Cor 5:5) Paul talks of handing over the man who practised immorality over to Satan that his spirit would be saved at the coming of the Lord. Does that mean that this man could have lost salvation despite what the same Paul said in Heb10:10? Going back to my question based on John 20:23, where will unforgiven sins be retained? When Jesus said that we ought to forgive others’ trespasses that ours might be forgiven,was he suggesting that salvation could be jeopardised?

    • Whoa – lots of questions there Tina. I don’t mean to be dismissive (although I am on my way out the door to a conference), but the most important thing is to know the love of Christ and reveal His love to others. We’ll have time to get all the puzzles figured out in eternity. I have series on most of the Revelation churches in the archives. But the short answer is, no – if we retain the sins of others it does not mean they’re going to hell. Jesus died for the sins of the world and we’ve all been forgiven.

  13. Tina Aji George // August 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm // Reply

    Hmm…does that mean you don’t have the time or that you don’t have the answers? If you do feel inclined to,do blog on what you heard in MP . Enjoy the conference in the mean time…

  14. Tina Aji George // August 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm // Reply

    Went thru your archives…the posts on the churches in the book of Revelations helped:)

  15. quote from Paul Ellis “Jesus died for the sins of the world and we’ve all been forgiven.” Paul are you a universalist?

    Tina, John 20:23. Only God can forgive sins. This verse is in reference to the apostles preaching. In the apostles time and in our time there are results to preaching. Those who heed the call and believe have their sins forgiven (remitted), and those who reject are under condemnation (retain their sins).

    John 15:6 I am trying to place myself among the apostles in an effort to understand Jesus’ words as they would have understood it. They would not have knowledge of Johns writings later so how would they have understood it? I have to believe in light of what the disciples had just witnessed with Judas that Jesus was referring to those “like” Judas.
    However, all of this is so they would have His joy and so their joy might be full. This whole teaching is about joy not about whether or not we can be cast out. Jesus was about to walk thru the “valley of the shadow of death” and He wanted His disciples to have joy even in the circumstances that they were about to be in. Does not Jesus tell us the reason He was saying these things in verse 11? Joy in the most extreme circumstances of life!

    • Jeff, God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you and He has. That’s the good news. If it came with qualifiers and fish-hooks it would not be good news. And to answer your question, no, I am not a universalist. Grace must be received by faith to be effective (Eph 2:8)

  16. Paul, I do not understand. What is this comment in reference to: “Jeff, God doesn’t need your permission to forgive you.”

    I am pleased that you are not a universalist. I wasn’t sure as to what I had stumbled onto. So when you say we’ve all been forgiven you are not talking about all people. Maybe just those to whom you’ve been writing to?

    Thanks for your comments on John 15. I have always felt uneasy about the different translations and the numerous commentaries I have read. The meaning of the story that Jesus gives is fruit bearing. So I had problems understanding this. You have helped me.

  17. Phillip Waite // October 27, 2012 at 11:33 am // Reply

    Paul. I am hooked on your blog. Great teaching. Would you agree with me that we acknowledge (confess) Christ because we first believe? So abiding is through faith, which is a gift? Through believing. That believing has been given to us. (through the Gospel, Holy Spirit) Perhaps Jesus (on the other side of the cross, while he was with them) was asking them to abide by faith. Judas did not.
    We, on this side, abide through the gift of faith. A son abides forever. Sealed. Because we are in seated the heavenlies in Christ, there is no pruning after believing. It’s done. Perfect in Christ? We have died to sin. What he started, he will complete. We cannot not abide. Sorry if this is a rehash.

    • Sounds good to me Philip. I heard someone explain it this week in terms of canning fruit. Like fruit jars we are sterilized or cleansed from all sin in order that something good (Jesus!) might be put inside us and then we’re sealed for all time by the Holy Spirit so that nothing can ever contaminate us.

  18. Paul, love your stuff! Blessings

  19. Hi Paul,
    I just want to say, may you be blessed with all spiritual blessings because of your unity with Jesus Christ our Lord. I have read a few things that you were talking about, and believe the Holy Spirit is working.

    I just have a few questions about the Sermon on the Mount…

    • Thanks for your comment Tyler. Please note that comments under posts should be limited to the post being discussed. Different routes for getting questions answered are identified here. Thanks.

  20. Wow…I feel like that’s the first time I read John 8. If you ever feel like people just use your blog as a means to argue, cuz I’ve noticed you’ve got a lot of people jonesing to contradict the truth, then please know that your ministry through this blog is touching my heart and repairing my soul. God is doing that through you.

  21. Great article. Definitely cleared some things out for me. Thank you! God bless you

  22. Hello Paul, when we first come to Christ and accept Him (as our Lord and Savior) then are all of our sins past, present and also future sins forgiven at this point? Thank you for you time.

    • Not quite. All of our sins were forgiven at the cross – actually, I believe they were forgiven in the heart of the Father before the dawn of time but it was the cross where God’s forgiveness became evident. So the gift was given but we didn’t receive it by faith until we came to Christ. More in this post.

  23. Hi Paul
    I believed the good news message years ago but i feel like iam only living now. Great stuff from you. God bless you dearly.

  24. Hello Paul could this mean that Jesus is referring to Judas as the branch that will be thrown to fire? As far as i know Jesus is talking to his disciples before his arrest.. All the disciples are not saved until Jesus was crucified and resurrected. So Jesus was saying to them that they should remain in Him and not deny him like Judas did. My two cents though.. Very nice explanation you have.

  25. I believe this
    But I don’t know how in the heck I can convince anyone about this.
    They would call it heresy
    They only believe in the doctrine of Jesus being the believer’s righteousness because I got healed
    Hell, before I got healed, I think they had already condemned me to hell
    and are now having a hard time believing that I have been accepted in the beloved
    I just thank God that I believe.

    I have to send this to my brother because he grew in the law+grace doctrine and so
    his growth hasn’t proceeded as much as I like.
    I love this and I pray the Holy Spirit uses this to minister to my brother in Jesus name, amen.

  26. I like what you have here….I agree it is the ‘unbeliever’ who is cast away; the personal pronoun “you” is replaced by “anyone”, so I figure that means it was for unbelievers.

  27. The bible talks about apostasy and backsliding. I believe in grace, the only means whereby I must be saved, but I know from my personal walk with The Lord that it is possible to backslide on God and become lukewarm.. I love this teaching and it is victorious! We remember Gal.5:13, we are called to liberty, but cautioned not to use liberty as an occasion to the flesh… It is possible to have grace and still sin. Look at Peter, with his co-dependency and fiery temper. Like him we all need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, daily abiding in Him as Paul Ellis tells us here. I personally think one of the things Jesus meant here was a warning that just bec we are in the vine doesn’t mean we have arrived, so to speak. He wants us to eat and grow in the word so we can bear fruit ourselves, sharing that fruit with others

  28. There is a lot to respond to here. One comment said something to the effect that ‘sin is simply unbelief’. This is incorrect. The Greek and Hebrew translations for our word ‘sin’ mean the same thing. In the Koine Greek it is ‘Hamartia’, and it means ‘to miss the mark’, to fall short…

    I’m thankful for Paul’s comments here on John 15. It can be so easy to take this chapter, and well, most of John’s writings really, and turn them into a works based theology. Much has been said on this word abide (meno). It means to stay, endure, remain or dwell, and as such can be linked to the word (skenoo), to dwell, which means to tabernacle. See John 1:14, Christ tabernacled amongst us. So to be clear, correctly linking this with 1 John 4:15, we can only ‘abide’ in Christ if we first acknowledge Him, accept Him and believe in Him with a saving faith (pistuo). So yes, it is impossible to remain with someone unless we first believe and acknowledge that someone’s existence, and that’s the point. These branches that are thrown away to be consumed were never part of the Vine to begin with because they never accepted Christ in faith and therefore did not dwell or abide in Christ. Also note that the preceding verses, discussing those who are saved, Christ states unequivocally that He (in the Holy Spirit) abides in them just as they abide in Him.

  29. Dear Paul, Many thanks for taking the time to host this blog. I found it very liberating to read yours. I found your site accidently via google. Brother, I believe your site will be one of the source God will be using to bring revival. (I to a degree, its already started). Thank you sooo much for what you are doing. I am amazed to read the stories of so many peoples live that has been changed by your ministry. In every post there is a breadth of fresh air! Grace and peace to you.

  30. Austine Okafor // January 22, 2014 at 4:47 am // Reply

    Thank you bro paul, may God keep on revealing Himself to you and others like joseph prince,

    There is no antum of contradiction to the word of God From your teaching on this subject. I am a believer and a preacher of grace, but i was born nd brought up from a family nd denomination dat ve always believeing in law, nd dis ve always been a big burden on. Now they see as one dat ve been possess whenever i stand to preach the gospel of grace. This ve also made me to stop going to their assembly as i usually do, bcos they always try to condemned what i ve believe about the gospel of grace , nd ve all been longing for the day to come when i shall all be worshing with believers that have the same believe with me.


  31. Are u saying that as long as we believe in Jesus and his grace we can stay as we are when Jesus saves us.Drug addicts thieves,alcoholics,murderers whores etc none must change their lives but only believe in Jesus and his grace and then carry on doing all the bad things as they wish?

    • Under the old covenant the law carried no power to enable the believer to conform under the new covenant the word became life, when Jesus commanded the woman to sin no more after he had forgiven her it was not just written words but words that had the power of life not death.

      • U still did not answer my Question.Can we carry on sinning as much as we like, as long as we believe in Jesus, His Blood and grace?

    • Hi Kallie, I had a lot of that ugly stuff active in my life till around 4 years ago… all of that actually cornered me into a place where I just said “Lord, take over… I surrender body, soul and spirit”. And HE DID! Grace came on so strong that like you say “wishing all those bad things” was just not me anymore. It’s a place where you just don’t want to sin anymore, sin has absolutely no power or attraction any longer, you’re filled with light, darkness has absolutely no more say nor room for manifesting. It’s a NEW world where old things are passed away and ALL things have become NEW, He really means it!!!
      You enter that place in God where you start to KNOW HIM – which is eternal life NOW – and where nothing pollutes nor destroys anymore “in all His Holy Mountain”. In Christ sin is irrelevant and I cannot agree more with John (1Jo 3:9 NKJV) Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
      Tried and proven, that is why since that time I’ve truly known JOY and cannot land this plane anymore. I certainly didn’t deserve it but it’s free for the TAKING – don’t ask for it, He’s already given it to us, just take it, it’s His pleasure to GIVE us the Kingdom!
      Get to know Who your Daddy is, ALL answers are there!
      Righteousness Peace and Joy IN YOU!

      • That is absolutely correct.When one is saved U don’t want to sin anymore.But that is a far cry from some people claiming that all we have to do is accept Jesus and his Grace and nothing else matters.That is a lie from satan and he is using people to preach this,causing a lot of people to just carry on with their unholy lives without any change.I agree when one really meets Jesus your life will change automatically.We cannot sin more so that the Grace can become more.Yes we do fail and that is where the Grace comes in

    • One more thing in case something’s not right with this picture, let me conclude with this quote by Paul Ellis:
      “I’m not claiming to be perfect. I know my behavior is far from perfect. But I am not defined by my behavior. I am defined by Christ. Don’t you see? It’s a faith thing. It takes faith to look at Jesus and say, “As he is so am I in this world” (1 John 4:17). It takes no faith to identify with your mistakes and define yourself as the world does. Walk by faith, not by sight.”

    • If Jesus changes your behavior it is permamnantly changed if you try on your own you will be like the dog returning to its vomit, it may taste awful but you will go back.You ask the wrong question you should ask .Have you allowed Jesus to stop you from sinning , or are you still trying in your own wllpower? This is the question to ask.

      • I agree totally but that is not what Paul says.From what I understand in his message is that one can do what you want as long as one believe in the grace and Jesus Blood.That is why I asked him the question.Look at Mr Waite bellow He is saying the same thing as long as one believes that there is no condemnation U can still carry on sinning. That is a lie out of Hell.
        What Mr Waite is saying is that Jesus did not tell her to stop sinning but that there is no condemnation for sinning. So she could carry on with her adultery as long as she believes that she wont be condemned.We must read the Word and live according to the word. We cannot use and change scripture to suit us.What is written has no secret meaning.It is as it is.

  32. Phillip Waite // March 2, 2014 at 3:18 am // Reply

    Jesus was not commanding her to sin no more. He was just giving her the gospel. This is the gospel in a few words. “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”. When you believe the first, that there is no condemnation in Christ, sin is not strengthened in you. The law does the exact opposite.

    • I think Kallie has a great point Phillip. The same point that Paul made in 2 Timothy 2:19-21. , As Paul E. questioned us,”his grace or your works.” It seems he is speaking both here. You that are a professing Christian, abstain from wickedness. “if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified,…” What? Is he saying we are part of this great work of sanctification? Sure, so as to be one that is set apart by God the Father to be useful for good works. Paul told Titus the same; deny ungodliness and live soberly and righteously. Titus 2:11-13. This goes along with 1 Corinthians 11:31,32 that we are to judge our selves, that we then wont be judged. This , by the way (let me be clear), has nothing to do with where one spends eternity, only how they spend it (rewards) while in Gods Heaven.

  33. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Mr. Ellis to keep coming back and reiterating the positions stated in his commentary. Come on folks, just reread the text a few times. It says what it says. It’s like a mob mentality here with people who just keep stabbing away with “concerns” that are motivated by a huge unwillingness to consider that Grace is as truly liberating as it is. Thanks to you Mr. Ellis for taking the time to have written such a good piece that effectively shares your insights and seeks to cover any and all areas of concern.

  34. I had to come back &read this because Wednesday night bible studies have been on john 15, we were told that if a Christian didn’t bear fruit they will be thrown in the fire, If we didn’t witness & tell others about Jesus. You will tell the true Christians if they continue to abide in him, many look like something they are not, they do all the things of a Christian but they are not, then we looked at Matthew 7,to show us if Christians don’t produce they are cut off. He ended saying if you remain in Him you would be pruned and He will help you. So different than what’s here. Any comments?

    • You’ve been given two interpretations of Jesus’ words: a grace-based interpretation and a works-based interpretation. You don’t need more comments – there are already 60 above. You just need to decide which you will trust – his grace or your works.

  35. I think we are saved by grace THROUGH faith (Ephesians 2:8) not by works . . . We receive grace because of the work of Christ and his shed blood on the CROSS, but we must believe (put our trust in, have faith in) in what Jesus did for us. If this weren’t true there would be universal salvation.

    Satan can seduce us and cause us to doubt the Word and doubt Jesus, causing unbelief to enter into our hearts. This is why we must always guard our hearts and remain in Him, not being lured away by seducing spirits. (Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 4:1)

    We must also remain faithful to God, not worshiping idols, such as the Israelites in the wilderness. We have a responsibility to keep the truth pure, not corrupting it with philosophy, science, Old Testament law, business principles, psychology–anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

    Faith (G4102) carries with it the idea of fidelity, or faithfulness. We must be faithful to him. We must stay in him, abide in him, continue in him, remain in him. Just as a man and woman must remain faithful in a marriage in order for their relationship to continue…

    • May I ask where and from whom your Faith comes from? Pretty sure the translation of the Greek in strongs is divine persuasion. 🙂 Be blessed.

  36. Great read, really enjoyed reading it. If I met someone and never spoke to them again would I know them? Abiding – Isn’t it believing in, communing with, talking to, Listening to, being with, remaining in, resting in,knowing someone? Or is it: Knowing of the whole inner workings of a person, their systems, thought processes. I’m good at knowing of God’s scripture but just learning to walk with him in relationship. Isn’t that why he created us? To be in relationship. Oh, how I want a deep relationship, I long for it.

  37. The post and all the comments are great and mind boggling. I want an explanation on what Luke 13:6-9 means in relation to abiding, bearing fruit and being cut down or rejected by God.
    Thanks Paul for this medium, God bless you.

  38. Intriguing articles over John 15:1-6. I understand the truth about one relying completely on Christ, his sacrifice and priesthood, for salvation. However, I think we are lacking some systematic considerations for how a Christian presses into their established relationship with Christ.

    Romans 8 verses 1 and 13 come to mind. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ…” This follows a chapter where Paul admits that a sinless existence isn’t happening in this life but rather we are under grace. However, in verse 13 we are told that, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭13‬ ESV).

    Point one is that the Holy Spirit is the mechanism that removes our sinfulness, but there seems to be an active participation with the Spirit.

    You used domestic violence in another article to say that one who loves doesn’t break laws intended for lawbreakers. But the gospel indicates the opposite that it is in fact “everyone” who breaks the law and are only set free by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

    So then we do have a responsibility as growing believers to build upon elementary doctrine and grow in our practicing of the word (Heb. 5:6).

    I don’t believe this is legalistic because it has nothing to do with salvation but rather is the response and striving towards the upward call of Christ.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this .

    • Thanks for your comment. The only thing we are to strive towards is the Lord’s rest (Heb 4:11). The writer of Hebrews admonishes his readers for being unacquainted with the teaching of righteousness (Heb 5:13), namely that righteousness comes to us as a gift (Rom 1:17, 5:17).

      Perhaps the single biggest difference between the gospel of grace and what I call the gospel of mixture is that grace says we are saved by grace and sanctified by grace. It’s grace from start to finish. Does this mean we do nothing? Well do you do nothing in your marriage? The love of God is the most potent force in the universe. When you have been apprehended by the power of a great affection you will hate sin and love people. This has nothing to do with practicing the word and everything to do with knowing Jesus. His love compels us, his love changes us, his love bears fruit in us.

  39. Hi Paul,
    Wouldn’t basic exegesis mandate that before you go to 1 John 4 to answer the question, “How do we abide in Christ?”, you would consider the immediate context of John 15:6, i.e., the entire chapter? Very interesting, you quote John 15:9, but not John 15:10… Why did you ignore the verse in your post? Note carefully that I am not saying that one cannot point to 1 John 4:15, only that it should NOT be the ONLY verse one points to, if one wants to give an honest answer. This can be verified in 1 John 2:5-6: “By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

    • I am limited by space as to how many verses I can cover in a single post. If you would like my take on other scriptures, I encourage you to check out the Archives>Scripture Index where you will find material on those other passages.

      I take it you have a different opinion on what it means to abide in the vine?

  40. “When Jesus said, “anyone who does not abide in Me is cast out as a branch, withers, and is thrown into the fire,” He was not referring to fruitless Christians. (They are lifted up.) He was describing those who refuse to believe to that He is the Son of God”

    Paul, you are deeply mistaken. When Jesus said what he said in John 15:6, He applied the verse to “anyone”, AND he was speaking to His disciples, whom He had earlier pronounced clean, i.e., saved. His disciples, who were listening to Him speak in that upper room were NOT people who ‘refuse to believe that He is the Son of God”.

  41. Your statement above begs the question (I’m using the phrase here in its logical sense) and hence proves nothing.

    Again, why did you jump to 1 John 4 to define abiding in Christ and ignore John 15:10? Even further, why did you ignore the immediate context in John 15:7, the very next verse to v 6 which speaks of us being called to abide in His Words?

  42. Paul,

    You should rename your site to escape from reality. Very disappointing to see you censor my posts for no reason. I gave you the exegetical reality to contend with and you ran from it. I will speak of this on other blogs and warn people of this.

  43. Warren (South Carolina, USA) // September 4, 2015 at 5:29 am // Reply

    I printed this article out yesterday and was glad to have found it. I must say this goes along perfectly with Paul’s post “Unfruitful branches are not chopped off” which I read a month ago. Awesome articles/posts, and compliment perfectly.
    Blessings and thanks,
    Warren (South Carolina, USA)

  44. Starr Bright // December 2, 2015 at 5:21 am // Reply

    God is the head we r the body, Jesus said love the Lord your God with all yr heart, mind and strength and love others, so we r to surrender the battle field (our minds) to God, letting Him b the head and we r to reckon ourselves dead, no longer l that liveth but Christ that liveth in Me, He must b more l must b less, unless a seed falls 2 the ground it abides alone, Rest in Peace, My peace l give to you. RIP. so we can learn how to live an eternity with our awesome Father. and bring as many as possible with us for Love does not fail. Amen

  45. I believe we are secure in Christ as long as we remain in him and embrace his Words as the truth, but if we turn away from the truth and believe in a Jesus not found in the Scriptures, then we will become branches that are cut off and thrown into the fire. An example of this would be Christians who convert to Islam, or become atheists, or even “Christians” such as the “foolish” Galatians who blended Judaism with Christianity. I don’t think we lose our salvation because we sin (although we can’t remain unrepentant) but because we loved not the truth and turned away from it.

  46. The Key Word is ‘Abiding’. A True Branch will ‘Abide’ in the Vine. A False Branch that does not belong to the Vine will not ‘Abide’ in the Vine. Jesus in His parables always presents what truly belongs to the Kingdom; what truly are His with the ‘Counterfeits’, the ‘Pretenders’. We find these in the Parables of the Wheat and the Tares, the Sheep and the Goats, the Ten Virgins. The guests that were in the King’s Banquet without the proper garment … Those ‘False’ Branches that tried to cling on to the Vine will be ‘Cut Off’ and thrown into the fire.
    Wow, this is a liberating truth … those ‘Unfruitful Branch’, God will ‘Lift Up’ and not ‘Cut Off’. John 15:6 the Branch that ‘Does not Abide’ is not referring to True Believers.

    • Right as there are those who do not abide and are noted by their continuation of sin, as these are those that “have not seen Jesus (in the word) neither known him (through the word). 1 John 3:6. Such are counterfeits, yet for true confessors (1 John 4:15) these are those who do not continue in sin, but go on “with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls.” 1 Peter 1:8,9. Thanks!

  47. Praised be Jesus and thank You, Paul. That is a wonderful revelation. You’re really a blessing.

  48. Here’s my take: Jesus is saying He has chosen them to bear fruit. And what is this fruit? To love one another. He says it 2x. Why will they love one another? Because abiding in Him is abiding in His love. Why do we love Him? Cuz He loved us first. The entire saying is summed up for them (v17). And if you think this means He is warning them about burning in hell for eternity for messing up this Scripture (v14) that their joy may be full makes zero sense. Who doesn’t abide? Unbelievers. They don’t have Holy Spirit the anointing that abides. I didn’t put Scripture so this would be concise, but i hope it’s helpful.


  49. Leslie Boyt // April 7, 2016 at 8:35 am // Reply

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading several of your articles. I am friends with Paul Ellis on FB, and I have a lot of respect for his teachings. Lately I had stumbled across a man by the name of Andre Rabe. I looked him up on FB and saw that Paul was a friend of his. I started listening to some of his teachings and really was enjoying them, but then he said some things that raised some red flags. I started researching inclusionism, and I ran across Escape To Reality’s research on this subject. I’m so glad I did! Paul Ellis, keep doing what you are doing. Lives are being affected in a very positive way! God bless you and your precious family! ❤️

  50. Paul,

    I have been a follower of your posts for over three years now. I’ve never posted a comment to anything before. I teach sunday school and I seem to read something you wrote on the very topic I’m going to teach on about once a month. I find your writing, references and insight a great resource when I’m going to teach. I don’t blanket believe what you have wrote. However, since being freed from traditional teachings, I have found much of what you write to match up with Truth. I write all this to say that I appreciate the time you put in to put up a website like this and that you are willing to put Truth out there. I strive each Sunday to present the Truth that I have come to know and love. Keep up the good work!

    PS. This article topic is what I’m teaching on this Sunday. I had already gotten much of my material ready, but I’ll be using a few of your scripture references to really present the message. Again, you are awesome and I appreciate you!


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