John 15:4
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
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(4) Abide in me, and I in you.—The clauses are here connected as cause and effect. The second is the promise, which will not fail if the command of the first be observed. The union then, and all that follows from it, is placed within the power of the human will. All is contained in the words, “Abide in Me.” He who obeys this command has Christ abiding in him, and is a fruitful branch of the true vine.

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself.—The branch regarded of itself, apart from (“except it abide in”) the vine, has no original source of life. The sap flows from the vine to branch and tendril and leaf and fruit. The branch of itself is a lifeless organ, and only fulfils its functions when it is connected with the vine. So in the spiritual life, men apart from Christ have no original source of life and fruitfulness. The true life flows from Him to every branch that abides in Him, quickening by its power the whole man, and making him fruitful in good. The man who lives without faith in God may be said to exist, rather than to live, and misses the true aim of his being.

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.Abide in me - Remain united to me by a living faith. Live a life of dependence on me, and obey my doctrines, imitate my example, and constantly exercise faith in me.

And I in you - That is, if you remain attached to me, I will remain with you, and will teach, guide, and comfort you. This he proceeds to illustrate by a reference to the vine. If the branch should be cut off an instant, it would die and be fruitless. As long as it is in the vine, "from the nature of the case," the parent stock imparts its juices, and furnishes a constant circulation of sap adapted to the growth and fruitfulness of the branch. So our piety, if we should be separate from Christ, or if we cease to feel our union to him and dependence on him, withers and droops. While we are united to him by a living faith, from the nature of the case, strength flows from him to us, and we receive help as we need. Piety then, manifested in good works, in love, and self-denial, is as natural, as easy, as unconstrained. and as lovely as the vine covered with fruitful branches is at once useful and enticing.

4. Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, &c.—As all spiritual fruitfulness had been ascribed to the mutual inhabitation, and living, active interpenetration (so to speak) of Christ and His disciples, so here the keeping up of this vital connection is made essential to continued fruitfulness. This our abiding in Christ is expounded, by an abiding in his words, John 15:7, by abiding in his love, John 15:10, an abiding in his Spirit, 1Jo 2:27, a walking as Christ walked, 1Jo 2:6, an abiding in the light, John 15:10, not sinning, 1Jo 3:6. The exhortation is, without doubt, to a holiness of life and conversation, by which our union and communion with Christ is upheld and maintained, and which is in itself an abiding in the love of Christ: nor is there a want of sufficient reason for this exhortation, though our union with Christ cannot be dissolved, nor our communion with him wholly interrupted; because,

1. It must be upheld and maintained on our part by the exercises of faith and holiness.

2. The sense of it in our souls may be eclipsed, and wholly fail, Psalm 22:1.

3. We may fall away foully, though neither totally, (as Lutherans say), because the seed of God abideth in the believer; nor yet finally (as papists say).

We had need therefore of all exhortations and arguments imaginable, to persuade us to do what in us lieth that we may abide in him. We have a great encouragement to the use of all possible endeavours to abide in the love of God, from the promise annexed,

and I in you; that is, I will abide in you; do you strive, and I will help you to perfect; do you fight, and I will help you to overcome; I will continue to you such gradual influences of grace, as shall be sufficient for you; grace wherein and whereby you shall stand, Romans 5:2. You shall be kept by the power of God through faith to salvation, 1 Peter 1:5. But look as it is with the branch, it cannot bear fruit of itself; but if it be once separated from the influences of the stock, it dies and withers; so it will be with you, you can bring forth no fruit unless you abide in me.

Abide in me, and I in you,.... The former of these is an exhortation to continue in the exercise of faith and love upon Christ, holding to him the head, cleaving to him with full purpose of heart, and so deriving life, grace, strength, and nourishment from him; the latter is a promise encouraging to the former; for as Christ is formed in the hearts of his people, he continues there as the living principle of all grace. And so,

as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me; which strongly expresses the necessity of abiding in Christ by fresh repeated acts of faith: and it is easy to observe, that when believers depart from Christ, though it be but partially, and for a time, for they cannot finally and totally depart from him, in what a poor, withered, fruitless condition they are, both in their frames and duties.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
John 15:4. To this purity, however, must be added the continuous faithful persistence in my living fellowship.

ἐν ἐμοί] here: on (not in) me, συμπεφυῶτες ἐμοί (Nonnus), as is required by what follows, hanging on me as the branches hang on the vine, John 15:2. Euth. Zigabenus aptly remarks: συγκολλώμενοί μοι βεβαιώτερον διὰ πίστεως ἀδιστάκτου καὶ σχέσεως ἀῤῥήκτου.

κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν] to the fulfilment of the requirement[161] is attached the promise: and I will abide on you

συνὼν τῇ δυνάμει, Euth. Zigabenus—with the whole power of spiritual life, which I impart to my faithful ones; I will not separate myself from you, like the vine, which does not loosen itself from its branches. On ΜΕΝῶ as a supplement, see Bornemann in the Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 56. The harsher mode of completing the sense: and cause that I abide on you (Grotius, Bengel), is not demanded by John 15:5, where ὁ μένωναὐτῷ is the fulfilled μείνατεὑμῖν.

ἘᾺΝ ΜῊ ΜΕΊΝῌ, Κ.Τ.Λ.] If he shall not have abided, etc., refers merely to οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν (as in John 5:19), and is so far a more exact definition of the ἈΦʼ ἙΑΥΤΟῦ, “vi aliqua propria, quam habeat extra vitem,” Grotius.

οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς] so neither you, namely δύνασθε καρπ. φέρειν ἀφʼ ἑαυτῶν, i.e. ποιεῖν τι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ, John 15:5. Bengel well remarks: “Hic locus egregie declarat discrimen naturae et gratiae,” but also the possibility of losing the latter.

[161] Comp. Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 74.

John 15:4. It is in and through you I live henceforth. καθὼς τὸ κλῆμαμείνητε [or μένητε]; illustrating by the figure the necessity of the foregoing injunction. A branch that falls to the ground, and no longer abides in the vine as a living part of it, cannot bear fruit, so neither can ye except ye abide in me. That is, ye cannot bear the fruit my Father, the vinedresser, looks for, and by which He will be glorified, John 15:8.

4. Abide in me, and I in you) See on John 6:56. ‘And I in you’ may be taken either as a promise (‘and then I will abide in you’) or as the other side of the command (‘take care that I abide in you’); the latter seems to be better.

except ye abide] There is this mysterious property in the branches of the spiritual Vine, that they can cut themselves off, as Judas had done. Nature does something, and grace does more; but grace may be rejected.

John 15:4. Κἀγὼ, and I) The first person here is to be supplied from the imperative, μείνατε, abide, by the following periphrasis (circumlocution or paraphrase): See that ye abide in Me, and that I abide in you.—καθὼς, even as) This passage admirably sets forth the distinction there is between nature and grace.—ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ, of itself) This is explained in the following clause, ἐὰν μὴ μείνῃ, κ.τ.λ., “except it abide in the vine; so χωρὶς ἐμοῦ, “without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5.

Verse 4. - But there is a continuance of most intimate relations to be sustained between Christ and his disciples. If the two clauses are "imperative," or rather concessive, as many suppose, the finest meaning is evolved. Let these be the reciprocal conditions, let it be that you abide in me, and I in you. (Meyer and Lange add to the second clause μενῶ, "I will abide in you," making it into a promise following a command, and involving a very strong synergistic thought.) There is a mutual abiding or indwelling. The life-principle circulates through the branches, just as they perpetuate the living connection between the branch and the center of the life. The mutual relations show that human nature is in infinite need, and, apart from the new life-principle, will perish. The abiding of the branch in the vine suggests the continuance of vital connection' with the living stem, and supposes that connection kept up by constant faith, so that the believer is in a position to draw life from the legitimate source. The abiding of the vine in the branch - "I in you" -is the perpetual inflow into the subordinate life, of the living grace which makes the believer's life one with his Lord's. As he said (John 14:19), "Because I live, and ye shall live;" so now, As the branch cannot bear fruit from itself - from its own inherent vitality - except it abide in the vine - except this connection is maintained - in like manner no more (or, so neither) can ye, except ye abide in me. The affirmation does not cover, as Augustine implies (although it may suggest), the impotence of the natural man, but it asserts the unfruitfulness of the disciple in his own strength. Some have found here revindication of the place of the human will in the work of grace. Let it be seen, however, that it is the "good will," the new nature, which has been wakened into normal activity, and which wills the thing most pleasing to the Divine Source of the life. John 15:4Of itself (ἀφ' ἑαυτοῦ)

Properly, from itself. See on John 7:17.

No more can ye (οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς)

Literally, so neither can ye. So Rev.

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