Ingrafted branches   Leave a comment

We know that we have come to know God if we obey his commands. Suppose someone says, “I know him.” But suppose that person does not do what God commands. Then that person is a liar and is not telling the truth. But if anyone obeys God’s word, then God’s love is truly made complete in that person. Here is how we know we belong to him. Those who claim to belong to him must live just as Jesus did. ” 1 John 2:3-4,

Just as Jesus did. I have read the book titled “Like Christ” by Andrew Murray and I was so struck by the reality in these words above. For years I have been wrestling to try to resemble Christ but it was so difficult. I made a lot of efforts and finally concluded that it was impossible. I said to myself that Jesus gave us an example of perfection that we need to try to aim. I thought that Jesus was not literally meaning that we should become exactly like Him. It could not be literal, it must be an ideal. I’m just a man, I live in a world of sin, how can Jesus expect that of me?

Lies! Jesus really expects us to become like Him in all aspects. This is impossible if we try this by ourselves, I can testify that!
If it was my decision to choose to become like Jesus, it would have been a gross sin. No here, it is God the Son who wants His friends, his brothers and sisters to become like Him. It was His prayer (John 17).

These verses talk about these aspects of our life that need to be conform to Christ’s likeness.

John 13:15(Serve), John 15:12(Love), Mat 18:33/Col 3:13(Forgiveness), 1 Thes 4 (Holiness).

Paul was an imitator of Christ (1 Cor 11). We have been predestined to become like Christ Rom 8:29, 2 Cor 3:18.
Jesus literally wants us to be perfect (Mat 5:48). He is he author and perfecter of our faith, He’ll finish what He has started in us. “Streams of living water will flow from inside him” into those who believe in Him (John 7:38).

It’s all about Him and the Spirit working within us to transform us into Christ’s likeness. It is not about us changing ourselves into Christ image. John 15 portrays it well. We are the branches and He is the Vine.

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

John 15 is in my opinion the greatest illustration Jesus gave to His disciples of what He is to them and what they are to Him.

If it is not physically possible for us to be what a branch is to the Vine, spiritually it is what Christians are. This chapter explains how a Christian now survives. The Word and the Spirit remove in us all impurities, they prune us from everything that hinders us to bear fruits. When I look at a mango tree, I see the branches holding the fruits. A branch cannot do anything to produce these fruits. The branch just carries to the fruit what the roots extract from the soil. A branch cannot survive without the tree but a tree can survive without a branch.

The Greek word used here to describe the branch is klēma which means a branch ingrafted. We were on another tree before, we were from Adam(Romans 5:15-21). The fruits we were bearing naturally was sin and death. Jesus is God, He is holy and sinless. What He did is this: He removed us from the sinful life we inherited Adam and ingrafted us in Him. It was not natural for us to bear good fruits. Our contact to holiness is Jesus.There’s now nothing common between our old nature and what we are now since we are now nourishing ourselves from a holy sap. We died to our old nature because spiritually we are no longer in Adam.

Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come! It is all from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. ” 2 Cor 5:17

An orange branch ingrafted in a lemon tree will produce a mixed fruit. Each of these different species will influence each other. But not so with Christ. We cannot influence Christ with sinful behavior. Jesus removes these branches that do not bear good fruits. Jesus the Vine wants us to bear grapes not thorns. We are now in Him and Him in us. We should be influenced by what He gives, we are to resemble Him.

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. ” Rom 6:3-6

Our old self is crucified. It is finish. I can say to my old self “I am finish with you, I do not want to have anything to do with you”.

We are in Christ! Glory to God! What a grace!

Just contemplate the Lord’s prayer:

They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to it. Use the truth to make them holy. Your word is truth. You sent me into the world. In the same way, I have sent them into the world. I make myself holy for them so that they too can be made holy in a true sense.
“I do not pray only for them. I pray also for those who will believe in me because of their message. Father, I pray that all of them will be one, just as you are in me and I am in you. I want them also to be in us. Then the world will believe that you have sent me.”I have given them the glory you gave me. I did this so they would be one, just as we are one. I will be in them, just as you are in me. I want them to be brought together perfectly as one. This will let the world know that you sent me. It will also show the world that you have loved those you gave me, just as you have loved me.”Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, the glory you have given me. You gave it to me because you loved me before the world was created.”Father, you are holy. The world does not know you, but I know you. Those you have given me know you have sent me. I have shown you to them. And I will continue to show you to them. Then the love you have for me will be in them. I myself will be in them.

I in them, they in Me. This was the Lord’s prayer. The ingrafted branches in Me.

Paul saw how his fellow Jews were cut off and Gentiles like us ingrafted. This is what he said:

The first handful of dough that is offered is holy. This makes all of the dough holy. If the root is holy, so are the branches. Some of the natural branches have been broken off. You are a wild olive branch. But you have been joined to the tree with the other branches. Now you enjoy the life-giving sap of the olive tree root. So don’t think you are better than the other branches. Remember, you don’t give life to the root. The root gives life to you. You will say, “Some branches were broken off so that I could be joined to the tree.” That’s true. But they were broken off because they didn’t believe. You stand only because you do believe. So don’t be proud. Be afraid. God didn’t spare the natural branches. He won’t spare you either. Think about how kind God is! Also think about how firm he is! He was hard on those who stopped following him. But he is kind to you. So you must continue to live in his kindness. If you don’t, you also will be cut off. ” Romans 11:16-22

The word of God purifies us.

You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.“ John 15

Use the truth to make them holy. Your word is truth.” John 17

The fruit of the Spirit should naturally be produced in us. We are not the one who do the pruning, it’s the Gardener. We are the clay, not the Potter. What is our role then? Our role is this “Remain in Christ”. Give Christ this honor of transforming you in His image. If we try to be our own hairdresser, it will be a mess. From Christ overflows holiness into us. Can we become like Christ, my answer is yes because He works in us to transform us in His image.

Our faces are not covered with a veil. We all display the Lord’s glory. We are being changed to become more like him so that we have more and more glory. And the glory comes from the Lord, who is the Holy Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:18, Gen :26

For quite a long time, I thought that what the bible was expecting from Christians was too demanding, impossible. By my own effort I tried to become like Christ. I always failed. Now I understood that He Himself will do everything. I just have to remain in Him. I just have to let myself molded into His image by Him.

In him we live and move and exist.” Acts 17:28.

Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” John 15:6
Many Christians do not like to hear about it but it’s what the bible teaches over and over again. A branch that does not bear fruits is removed, cut off and thrown into the fire. A good tree(Jesus) cannot bear bad fruits. How can the Holy Vine bear thorns? Is not it a disgrace? How can a branch which bears bad fruits “glorifies the Father in heaven”. Those who claim to be Christians and do not bear good fruits will be removed.

God did and does everything for us to resemble Him. But not everyone wants to leave his dark desires.

He gives us everything we need for life and for holy living. He gives it through His great power. As we come to know Him better, we learn that He called us to share His own shining-greatness and perfect life. Through His shining-greatness and perfect life, He has given us promises. These promises are of great worth and no amount of money can buy them. Through these promises you can have God’s own life in you now that you have gotten away from the sinful things of the world which came from wrong desires of the flesh. ” 2 Peter 1:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

Let’s not lower the high standard of priesthood living that Christ called us. God’s children cannot resemble the children of the father of lies. We are princes and princess’ of the Holy King. Our Kingdom is heaven.

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Posted February 1, 2012 by Cedric in Theology

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