Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sovereignty Series - The Vine Passage
John 15 is Jesus' discourse about the Vine and the branches. It is a lovely painting of words, describing the relationship between the Father (the vine dresser), the Son (the vine), the believer (the branches) and their good works (the fruit). Jesus explains in verse 8 that His Father is glorified in our fruit bearing, thus calling us to prove our discipleship through our fruit. He describes the Father's loving pruning for the purpose of greater harvests and explains that we are commanded to love in the same manner by which we have been loved.
And then comes verse 16: "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give it to you."
So what exactly does this mean when Jesus speaks of choosing? At face value, it's pretty obvious. Jesus is speaking to His disciples and explaining to them that their calling is from God. They were chosen to bear fruit. It was not their choice, but His. Period. So the next question is this: Does this choosing (this verse) only apply to the original disciples, or was Jesus speaking to His believers in general?
Many will argue that Jesus' choosing was not talking about salvation, but of the role of "disciple." However, if you continue to read, two verses later Jesus says this: "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you." (John 15:19)
Now we can confidently say that this passage is not just for the 12 disciples but for all believers. The comparison between the world and the disciples is clear - Jesus was not saying that He chose the 12 out of a body of believers, but that He chose His followers out of the world.
It is hard to get around the truth of these verses. Jesus plainly states that not only did He choose us out of the world, but that we did not choose Him. So is this an isolated concept, or is this consistent with more scripture?
Well, I'm definitely going to give you plenty of scripture to chew on, but I think that I will look at man in my next post. I have started with a pretty concrete statement about God's role in salvation so let's quickly look at man's condition next.