Many of Jesus’ parables relate to Israel’s way of life. Many people understood about sheepherding, vineyards and olive groves. That was their lifestyle. Jesus would teach with relatable stories. In this parable He teaches that our relationship with Him is much like a grape vine and its branches.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.“
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.“
Branches of the vine bear fruit, but if they are broken off or cut off (or were not part of the vine in the first place), they wither and cannot bear fruit. The only way we grow, the only way we are saved, is through Jesus Christ. Without Him we can do nothing. As we live our lives, we need to surrender to Him and abide, or dwell, in His love. As we obey His commands, we will grow spiritually and can be used to further His kingdom.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6
And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Those that turn to Jesus and trust in Him, receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in us leads us and helps us to do the good works to glorify God. God gives us life. We are sustained by Him.
The things that we do reflect who we trust. As a believer, we want to do good things and we want to obey His word. We don’t do good works to earn salvation. We do good works as a result of our salvation.
1 John 3:23-24
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
How do we know that we are saved? That we obey Jesus’ commandments. What are His commandments? To believe in Him and love each other.