Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now ye are clean.—Better, Already are ye clean. The pronoun is emphatic. “Already are ye, as distinct from others who will become clean in the future.” (Comp. Note on John 13:10.)
Through the word which I have spoken unto you.—Better, on account of the word which I have spoken unto you. The word was the revelation of God to them, and by reason of its moral power they had been cleansed. We are not to limit the reference to John 13:10, but are to understand it of our Lord’s whole teaching. (See John 5:24; John 8:31-32; John 12:48; John 17:10; and comp. Note on Ephesians 5:26.)John 15:3-6. Now ye are clean — All of you, to whom I now speak, are made clean from the guilt and power of sin through the word which I have spoken unto you, whose sanctifying influence has operated on your hearts, and which, when applied by the Spirit, is the grand instrument of purifying the soul. Abide in me — By the continued exercise of humble faith and love, producing all holiness, by which alone you can continue to be in me; and I in you — And I will be in you by my Spirit, to nourish your piety and virtue, and supply you, as from a living root, with every necessary grace. As — In the natural world; the branch cannot bear fruit of itself — But must presently wither; except it abide in the vine — Continue in a state of union with it, and be nourished by sap from thence; no more can ye — Be able to produce the fruits of genuine and acceptable obedience; except ye abide in me — And have the life of grace maintained in you by a vital union with me. I am the vine — That is, the root and stock of the vine of which I speak; ye are only the branches — And cannot flourish or subsist, much less can you bear fruit, without me. Our Lord, in this whole passage, speaks of no branches but such as are, or, at least, were once, vitally united to him by living faith. He that abideth in me — By a real, internal, and spiritual union, begun and continued by faith; and I in him — By my word and Spirit, my truth and grace; the same bringeth forth much fruit — In holy dispositions, and righteous, benevolent actions, to the credit of his profession, the comfort of his own soul, and the edification of his fellow- creatures; for without me — Χωρις εμου, separate from me, and deprived of the influences of my word and Spirit, (alluding still to the vine and its branches;) ye can do nothing — Nothing truly and spiritually good; can bear no fruit that will be pleasing to God, or profitable to yourselves. Without the merit of Christ, we can do nothing toward our justification; and without the Spirit of Christ, nothing toward our sanctification. We have as necessary and constant a dependance upon the grace of the Mediator for the whole of the spiritual and the divine life, as we have upon the providence of the Creator for all the actions of the natural life: as to both, it is in and by the divine power that we live, and move, and have our being. If a man abide not in me — By living, loving, and obedient faith, as well as by church communion, by which last, separate from the former, he may abide in Christ all his life and be withered all the time, and cast into the fire at last; he is cast forth as a branch — He is separated from Christ, as a branch that is barren is cut off from the tree which it only encumbered; and is withered — They that abide not in Christ by a real and vital union, though they may flourish a while in a creditable and plausible profession, yet in a little time they wither and come to nothing. Their abilities and gifts wither, their zeal and devotion wither; as do also their credit and reputation, their hopes and comforts. For they that bear no fruit will soon bear no leaves. How soon was the fig-tree withered away which Christ cursed! And men gather them and cast them into the fire, &c. — The loppings of the vines, in those countries where they are cultivated, are carefully gathered up, and make a considerable part of their fuel; as if he had said, As men gather up withered branches, which have been cut off from the tree on which they once grew, and throw them into the fire, where they are burned as a worthless kind of wood, fit for nothing but fuel; so, in like manner, such will be the end of those unhappy creatures. Satan’s agents and emissaries will insnare and make an easy prey of them; for they that fall off from Christ soon fall in with sinners, are associated with them, and employed in the unfruitful works of darkness; so that they become fit fuel for the divine wrath, from which the profession they formerly made will not preserve them. And they are burned — This follows of course; but it is here added very emphatically, and makes the threatening very terrible. The original expression, και καιεται, is literally, and they are burning; for they will not be consumed in a moment, like thorns under a pot; but burning for ever in a fire, which not only cannot be quenched, but will never spend itself. Such, reader, is the consequence of apostatizing from Christ, or ceasing to live by faith in him; they draw back unto perdition, Hebrews 10:38-39. Some interpret men’s gathering them, of the ministry of angels in the last day, when they shall gather out of Christ’s kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire, as tares are gathered and bound in bundles to be burned.John 13:10.
ye are clean through—by reason of.
the word I have spoken to you—already in a purified, fruitful condition, in consequence of the long action upon them of that searching "word" which was "as a refiner's fire" (Mal 3:2, 3).Ephesians 5:26 1 Peter 1:22. Our cleansing is in holy writ attributed sometimes to the blood of Christ, sometimes to the Spirit, sometimes to the word. By the blood of Christ we are made clean as to justification, washed; but yet we had need wash our feet, contracting soil every day in a sinful world, from which we are cleansed by the purifying virtue of the Holy Spirit, working by and together with the word, which purgeth us of our dross, and maketh us obedient to the will of God. Leviticus 19:23; by which the fruit of trees, for the first three years, were accounted uncircumcised or unclean, and in the fourth year fit for use; concerning which the Talmudists have a whole tract, called "Orla"; the apostles having enjoyed the ministry of Christ, and been his disciples about such a time. Though the "now" seems to refer to the removal and taking away of that withered and unfruitful branch, Judas. Christ, in John 13:10, had told his disciples, that they "were clean, but not all", because the betrayer was among them; but he being discovered by Christ, and ordered by him to be gone, went out from among them about his wicked design; and now Christ could say of them all, that they were clean: which may be understood of their regeneration and sanctification, in which their hearts were sprinkled with clean water; were washed with the washing of regeneration; had their hearts purified by faith in the blood of Christ, and had pure principles of grace formed in their souls; of all which the Gospel of Christ was the instrumental means: or of their justification by the righteousness of Christ, by which they were justified from all sin; and were all fair, and without spot; which was through the Gospel of Christ revealing his righteousness to them, or through the sentence of justification he, by his Spirit, passed upon their consciences. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 15:3. Application of the second half of John 15:2 to the disciples, in so far as they belong to the κλήματα; as a preparation for the exhortation in John 15:4. “Already are ye clean” (such purified κλήματα); already there has taken place in your case, that which I have just said. The ἤδη ὑμεῖς glances at the multitude of those who were yet to become καθαροί in the future. That their purity originally is intended, not excluding the necessary continuance and practical further development of the relation (comp. John 13:10), is understood as a matter of course, and see John 15:4. The mundi cease not to be mundandi.
διὰ τ. λόγον] διά, as John 6:57 of the ground; hence: on account of the word, i.e. because the word (“provided it be received and apprehended in faith,” Luther, comp. Acts 15:9) is the power of God (Romans 1:16), in virtue of which it effects its καθαίρει, John 15:2; Jam 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23. Comp. Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 162, I. p. 197; Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 39 f., ed. 3. The word, however, is the whole word, the entire doctrine which Jesus has delivered to them (comp. on John 8:43), not the utterance in John 13:10 (Hilgenfeld, Ebrard).John 15:3. ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε: “Already ye are clean”. καθαροί here means “in a condition fit to bear fruit”; in John 13:10-11, it is suggested by the feet-washing, and means “free from inward stain”. It is similarly used even in classical writers. διὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν, “on account of the word which I have spoken unto you”. For διά in this sense as indicating the source, see John 6:67. The word which Jesus had spoken to them, i.e., the whole revelation He had made, had brought spiritual life, and, therefore, cleansing. But this condition they must strive to maintain, μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγω ἐν ὑμῖν. μενῶ must be understood after κἀγω. Maintain your belief in me, your attachment to me, your derivation of hope, aim, and motive from me: and I will abide in you, filling you with all the life you need to represent me on earth. All the divine energy you know to be in me will now pass through you.3. Now ye are clean] Already are ye clean. ‘Ye’ is emphatic; many more will be made clean hereafter.
through the word] Better, on account of the word. This is a frequent error in our version, διά with the accusative being translated as if it had the genitive. Comp. Matthew 15:3; Matthew 15:6, where ‘by your tradition’ should be ‘for the sake of your tradition.’ ‘The word’ (John 16:23) here means the whole teaching of Christ, not any particular utterance; but there may be special reference to the present discourses, through which Peter, Thomas, Philip, and Judas Lebbaeus have been cleansed from self-confidence and ignorance.John 15:3. Καθαροὶ) This word is taken from καθαίρω, in John 15:2.—λόγον) the word, which is most ‘clean’ (pure, καθαρός). The Word is in itself altogether clean or pure: owing to this it imparts cleanness (purity), or holiness, to the disciples. Comp. the use of διὰ (σπλάγχνα ἐλέους Θεοῦ ἡμῶν, ‘through,’ i.e. “owing to the tender mercy of our God”), Luke 1:78.Verse 3. - Now ye are clean - pruned, purged, cleansed, of the Divine Owner - by reason of the word (λόγον) which I have spoken to you. The Father has been operating this cleansing process upon you by the whole of the ῤήματά (see Ver. 7), which are gathered together into one mighty, quick, and active Logos. As we find in Hebrews 4:12, the Word is sharper than a two-edged sword, and capable of dealing summarily with "thoughts and intents of the heart." Augustine, on this passage, admits that it is the Logos which gives all its value to the water of baptism. "This purifying, sanctifying process has been performed upon you," says Christ. Then since "he who sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one," this continuance remains as the gracious possibility. The vital sap proceeds from Christ alone, and not from our corrupted nature, which must be grafted into his life and become part of him. Many may seem to be a part of Christ, to be sacramentally or outwardly united to him, and even to be drawing some real advantages from the contact, and yet their end is fruitlessness, rottenness, removal, fire. The branches which bear fruit never bring forth all they might produce, never realize their ideal. The pruning, cleansing process must pass over every soul, that it may more adequately fulfill its destiny. The cleansing, searching power of the Word will be freely exercised by the Divine Husbandman.
Etymologically akin to καθαίρει, purgeth. The Rev. indicates this by rendering καθαίρει, cleanseth.
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