A New Community

KEY VERSE: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” —John 15:5


THE vine is the conduit through which life-sustaining fluids reach the branches, and the branches are then able to produce fruit. Jesus used this similitude to illustrate his relationship with his disciples. The Heavenly Father in this illustration was pictured as the husbandman who cultivates, prunes the dead branches and purges productive branches so that they might produce more fruit.

The close union between the vine and the branches is brought to our attention by our Lord’s words quoted in our Key Verse. The vine and its branches have such a oneness that wherever we touch a branch, we touch the vine itself. It is one vine composed of branches, and so is the body of Christ one body, composed of many members. (I Cor. 12:12) Wherever a member branch of the body of Christ is found, all the various characteristics of Christ himself are found—in spirit and in intention, as new creatures. This oneness in Christ is the secret of the power and fruit-bearing which make us, the branches, acceptable with the Father, the Husbandman.

The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:12-14 states: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” The thought of all drinking into one Spirit seems to be the key to an understanding of this text. This spirit, or course, is God’s Holy Spirit.

For example, during past ages this Holy Spirit or power of God has been used by Him to accomplish the many and great works of creation and other works as well. But during the Gospel Age, this power of God has been used in a very special way to enlighten the minds of the prospective members of the body of Christ, giving them spiritual perception. The Apostle Paul states the matter in this way: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of [by the favor of] Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”—II Cor. 4:6,7

In this text the apostle is obviously alluding to the creative days as described in the first chapter of Genesis. It was God, exercising his power through the Holy Spirit, that brought the light to shine out of darkness. (Gen. 1:3) Then the apostle continues, saying this same power—the Holy Spirit—has acted upon the hearts and minds of the prospective members of his body for a purpose. This purpose is to give each a knowledge of the glory of God. The apostle, in another place, describes this knowledge as a mystery that has been hidden from all those of past ages, but now is “revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” (Eph. 3:5) All of this was made possible because Jesus demonstrated his great love for us by willingly surrendering his life as a corresponding price for Adam.

The apostle continues, stating that this treasure or enlightenment of mind resulting from the Holy Spirit is contained in earthen vessels. The transformation in the mind of flesh that permits one to understand and appreciate spiritual things is a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit. It is the power of God operating in the earthen vessels, or the fleshly bodies of the prospective members of the body of Christ. The apostle then states that this power of God operating through a weak and imperfect human body will bring glory and honor to the Heavenly Father, because, what it will finally accomplish is not possible for any human being to achieve on his own. The work is spoken of in our Key Verse as bringing forth much fruit. The purging of the productive branches to cause them to bring forth more fruit would seem to refer to the suffering that is a necessary part of fruit-bearing, and it is those who bear much fruit who will be accounted worthy to be members of the one body of Christ. The completed body will be a glory to the Heavenly Father’s name.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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