Pruning the Branches
May 29, 2022
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 (John 15:1-3).
It is the work of the Father by the Holy Spirit and through His Word that every Christian is not only attached to the life of Christ, but is cleansed by His life that they bear fruit. (1 Peter 1:22-23) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
Even though the Christian is ‘made clean’ through the new birth, and in relation to their former condition they ‘are cleansed’, they are continually exposed to sin and are in need of ‘being cleansed’ on a daily basis. (1 John 1:8-9) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You cannot find in Scripture a soul that has come to faith in God that, from the moment of faith, lived a perfectly sinless life for the rest of their life. (Galatians 5:16-17) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. If sinless perfection in salvation were possible, there would be no need for this encouragement to continually walk in the Spirit.
What is the fruit that we are to bear? The Apostle Paul wrote (Galatians 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Together these characteristics describe holiness of character and righteousness of conduct - they are the spiritual equivalent of the goal God has set for the Christian life in Romans 8:29, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.
The ‘pruning’ process of the Father is that action of daily cleansing in the life of the believer. Whatever means that He may employ in this process, and there are many, they must be seen as the work of the Holy Spirit in the affecting of the Word of God in one’s life. How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word (Psalm 119:9); Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1); Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11). It is the Word of God that brings truth to one’s understanding, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit that brings God’s truth to bear in the life of the believer. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word . . . It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. (Psalm 119:67,71). Amen.