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Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Terms Of The New Covenant Part 4 - Abiding In Jesus

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes (cleans) so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean (pruned) because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:1-4)

It sometimes baffles me why translators make the decisions they do about precisely what words to use to express the original Greek or Hebrew text of our Bibles. This passage is a case in point.

As you may guess from my use of the words in brackets above the word translated as both prunes and clean have the same root. The underlying Greek word is katharos from which we get our English word cathartic, meaning cleansing or healing.

As participants in the New Covenant we have already been grafted in to Jesus the vine because He has cleansed us. Our job is simply to remain in Jesus or, as other versions put it, to abide in Him.

The obvious question which follows is, what do I have to do to abide in Jesus? The wonderful answer is that, like an engrafted branch we simply have to rest where He has placed us, allowing the sap of the Holy Spirit to flow through us, producing leaves and fruit.

Remember what Jesus said earlier:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)

We find this idea of resting and abiding foreign to us. We think we have to do something to validate our salvation. But the gospel is that Jesus has done everything we need.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Pet 1:3)

We don’t have to try to abide in Jesus or do good things. It becomes our nature to bear fruit:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:8-10)

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