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 shall you be My disciples. (John 15:1-8)
This is an analogy, a parable; imperfect and limited in suitability, it is beggared by the real. We are not passive parts of a plant, but intelligent, volitional persons. We are not merely physical parts of one whole, but distinct individuals.
Christ is not a temporal creature, but the eternal Creator. He is not a mere symbol; a symbol only teaches life: Christ is Life. The Father is not a farmer, but the Framer of the universe.Christ is not manna, but Living Bread (Jn. 6:31-33). He is not letter, but Spirit (II Cor. 3:6, 17). He is not the Bible, but incarnate Truth (John 1:1, 14).He is not the witness, the preacher, but the Light Himself (Jn. 1:8,9).
The False Vine: that to which we might cleave in false hope . The immediate meaning of “the false vine” to Christ’s disciples is Judaism, fallen Israel (Isaiah 5: 1-7). Bad fruit, unfaithfulness to God, idolatry, and unbelief, immorality, perversion of justice, greed, selfishness and oppression.
The comprehensive meaning is a false religion in which men hope: humanism...doing good, false religion, lodges and fraternities, Islam and other Eastern religions, superstitions, institutional and contemporary Christendom.
Its evidences are bad fruit (Is. 65:3-5, 8,9): human pride, bigotry, self-righteousness, legalistic zeal, sectarian strife, destructive fanaticism. Also, demon worship and witchcraft through ignorance, darkness, and blind devotion. This enslaves men to man-made systems and chains of conformity in a dead, lifeless ritual. Why is the fruit so bad? Because its root is bad. The bad root is fallen Adam.
Consider, now, the True Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit is good because the Root is good. The Fruit is good because the Root is God, God’s Life, God’s Light, God’s Love and God’s Word, Who is Perfect and Eternal. God is Living, Powerful, Sufficient and Triumphant. All who depend utterly upon Him abide fruitfully.
Question: how do branches come to be truly in the Vine? They do not grow out of it as in a literal vine and its branches. No, they are born from above. They volitionally choose to cleave to Him. We must choose some vine (life). If not the True Vine, then surely a false one.
All who are born from above volitionally choose to cleave to Christ, to abide in Him. Not good works, religion, or superstitions. Not the church of heritage or ancestral history. Not the symbol but the Lord Jesus Christ.