John 15:6
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
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If a man, abide not in me - See John 15:4. If a man is not truly united to him by faith, and does not live with a continual sense of his dependence on him. This doubtless refers to those who are professors of religion, but who have never known anything of true and real connection with him.

Is cast forth - See the notes at John 15:2. Also Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13.

Is withered - Is dried up. A branch cut off withers. So of a soul unconnected with Christ, however fair it may have appeared. and however flourishing when a profession of religion was first made, yet when it is tried, and it is seen that there was no true grace, everything withers and dies. The zeal languishes, the professed love is gone, prayer is neglected, the sanctuary is forsaken, and the soul becomes like a withered branch reserved for the fire of the last great day. See a beautiful illustration of this in Ezekiel 15:1-8.

Men gather them - The word "men" is not in the original, and should not have been in the translation. The Greek is "they gather them," a form of expression denoting simply they are gathered, without specifying by whom it is done. From Matthew 13:40-42, it seems that it will be done by the angels. The expression means, as the withered and useless branches of trees are gathered for fuel, so shall it be with all hypocrites and false professors of religion.

Are burned - See Matthew 13:42.

If a man abide not in me - Our Lord in the plainest manner intimates that a person may as truly be united to him as the branch is to the tree that produces it, and yet be afterwards cut off and cast into the fire; because he has not brought forth fruit to the glory of his God. No man can cut off a branch from a tree to which that branch was never united: it is absurd, and contrary to the letter and spirit of the metaphor, to talk of being seemingly in Christ - because this means nothing. If there was only a seeming union, there could be only a seeming excision: so the matter is just where it began; nothing is done on either side, and nothing said to any purpose.

He is cast forth - Observe, that person who abides not in Christ, in a believing loving, obedient spirit, is -

1. Cut off from Jesus, having no longer any right or title to him or to his salvation.

2. He is withered - deprived of all the influences of God's grace and Spirit; loses all his heavenly unction; becomes indifferent, cold, and dead to every holy and spiritual word and work.

3. He is gathered - becomes (through the judgment of God) again united with backsliders like himself and other workers of iniquity; and, being abandoned to his own heart and Satan, he is,

4. Cast into the fire - separated from God's people, from God himself, and from the glory of his power. And,

5. He is burned - is eternally tormented with the devil and his angels, and with all those who have lived and died in their iniquity. Reader! pray God that this may never be thy portion.

If a man abide not in me,.... Christ does not say, "if ye abide not in me"; he would not suppose this of his true disciples; Judas now being removed, to whom he may have some respect in this verse; though it may be applied to anyone who has made a profession of Christ, and denies the truths of the Gospel, neglects the ordinances of it, or walks unworthy of his profession: of whom the following things may be truly said,

he is cast forth as a branch; that is unfruitful, and is therefore taken away from the vine, and cast forth out of the vineyard. This signifies the ejection of worthless and fruitless professors out of the churches; for such who are either unsound in their principles, or are remiss and negligent in their attendance on the worship of God, with the church, or are loose and vain in their lives and conversations, are to be removed from communion with the people of God.

And is withered. Some versions, as the Arabic, Syriac, and Persic, read this as an epithet of the word "branch", thus; "the branch that is withered"; expressing the condition the branch is in before it is cast forth out of the vineyard, and the reason of its being cast forth: but others read it as a new and distinct predicate of the branch, showing the case it is in, immediately upon its being cast forth: it may be cut off, and cast out with its leaves upon it, though without fruit; but as soon as ever it is ejected, it withers away. So mere external professors of religion, when they are cast out, of the communion of the church, presently the leaf of profession, which once seemed green, decays, loses its verdure, and that seeming fruit which grew upon them shrinks to nothing, and they become "trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit", Jde 1:12, their show of life, zeal, religion, and holiness, disappears, and all their external gifts, light, knowledge, and understanding, even in a speculative way, vanish:

and men gather them; or, as some copies have it, "it", which best agrees with the word "branch". This was a common thing, when branches were thrown out of a vineyard, for men to come and gather them up for an use hereafter mentioned. So when unworthy members are put out of a church of Christ, the men of the world gather them into their society: or they are taken into the congregations of false teachers, who being sensual, and without the Spirit, separate themselves; or it may be read impersonally, "they are gathered", or "it is gathered": so wicked men, and Christless professors, will be gathered by the angels at the last day, and severed by them from the righteous, whom they will place at Christ's left hand to receive their awful doom:

and cast them, or "it",

into the fire, and they are burned, or "it is burned"; for nothing else is such a branch good for; see Ezekiel 15:2. This may respect either the gnawings of conscience, that distress of mind, if not despair, that fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which attend apostates in this life; or their being cast into the everlasting burnings of hell fire by angels at the last day, as will be the case of every unfruitful tree, of the chaff and tares.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch … withered … cast into the fire … burned—The one proper use of the vine is to bear fruit; failing this, it is good for one other thing—fuel. (See Eze 15:1-5). How awfully striking the figure, in this view of it!15:1-8 Jesus Christ is the Vine, the true Vine. The union of the human and Divine natures, and the fulness of the Spirit that is in him, resemble the root of the vine made fruitful by the moisture from a rich soil. Believers are branches of this Vine. The root is unseen, and our life is hid with Christ; the root bears the tree, diffuses sap to it, and in Christ are all supports and supplies. The branches of the vine are many, yet, meeting in the root, are all but one vine; thus all true Christians, though in place and opinion distant from each other, meet in Christ. Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and unable to stand but as they are borne up. The Father is the Husbandman. Never was any husbandman so wise, so watchful, about his vineyard, as God is about his church, which therefore must prosper. We must be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honour God, and do good; this is bearing fruit. The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humours, that require to be taken away, which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, they will be thankful, for them. The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified. In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ's disciples, constantly to keep up dependence upon Christ, and communion with him. True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith, causes holy affections to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their comforts to droop. Those who abide not in Christ, though they may flourish for awhile in outward profession, yet come to nothing. The fire is the fittest place for withered branches; they are good for nothing else. Let us seek to live more simply on the fulness of Christ, and to grow more fruitful in every good word and work, so may our joy in Him and in his salvation be full. 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. The lifeless, fruitless branches in the vineyard are lopped off and carried out, and wither and are burned. So, too, any one who does not abide in Christ, is severed from the Vine.

They gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned (Revised Version). They (the angels at the great day; not men, as in the Common Version) cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Verse 6. - If any one abide not in me, he is cast forth as the branch - perhaps away from the vineyard, as well as from proximity to the vine - and is withered. The two aorists, ἐβλήθη and ἐξηράνθη, are simply cases of a common daily experience. These are the inevitable consequences of not abiding in the Vine. We may imagine two ways in which this non-abiding in Christ, this severance from him, may be effected:

(1) the pruning-knife may have lopped them off because of their lack of fruitfulness; or,

(2) they may have withered on the stem, and, by their deficiency of strength and life, have suffered from some external assault which they have not had energy to resist. Lucke, Winer, Tholuck, and Hengstenberg regard the aorists as indicative of what will happen should branches in Christ cease to derive life from him. Calvin is satisfied that the expression cannot refer to the elect, but to the hypocrite, while Alford is as confident of its repudiation of unconditional election. In my opinion it keeps clear of both suggestions. And they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. The vine is one of the noblest of all trees, and produces the most abundant fruit; but it is one of its peculiarities that all its strength is spent on the fruit, and that its branches are utterly valueless for all other purposes. Heaps of burning vine-prunings may have suggested the awful image which the embodied Love of God here adopts. Some have supposed (Meyer and Alford) that the fire is here the last judgment, which our Lord looks upon as come. But the present tense, following the two aorists, suggests the immediate consequence of such severance from Christ - the fiery trials, the fierce temptations, the terrible judgments, always overtaking the unfruitful and unfaithful servants, and preluding the awful consummation of Divine judgment, of which our Lord had often spoken (Matthew 13:42, 50; Matthew 25:41; Luke 16:24), and which the apostle of love described in Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:8.


Job 15:30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, …

Psalm 80:15 And the vineyard which your right hand has planted, and the branch …

Isaiah 14:19 But you are cast out of your grave like an abominable branch, and …

Isaiah 27:10 Yet the defended city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, …

Ezekiel 15:3-7 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin …

Ezekiel 17:9 Say you, Thus said the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull …

Ezekiel 19:12-14 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, …

Matthew 3:10 And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every …

Matthew 7:19 Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast …

Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather …

Matthew 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, …

Hebrews 6:7,8 For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and …

Hebrews 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, …

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through …

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been …

Jude 1:12,13 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, …

Revelation 20:15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into …

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, …

He is cast forth (ἐβλήθη ἔξω)

The aorist tense. Literally, was cast forth. The aorist, denoting a momentary act, indicates that it was cast forth at the moment it ceased to abide in the vine. Forth signifies from the vineyard; ἔξω, outside.

As a branch (ὠς τὸ κλῆμα)

Strictly, the branch: the unfruitful branch.

Is withered (ἐξηράνθη)

The aorist, as in was cast forth. Wyc, shall wax dry.

Men gather

Or, as Rev., they gather. Indefinite. Compare Isaiah 27:11; Ezekiel 15:5.

15:6 If any one abide not in me - By living faith; not by Church communion only. He may thus abide in Christ, and be withered all the time, and cast into the fire at last. He is cast out - Of the vineyard, the invisible Church. Therefore he was in it once.
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