I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
False Christians cannot understand what Jesus is saying in this passage. They wonder, “What kind of Christians are those people? They can’t do anything more than eat and drink, work in their homes, take care of their children, and push a plow. We can do all that and better.” False Christians want to do something different and special – something above the everyday activities of an ordinary person. They want to join a convent, lie on the ground, wear sackcloth garments, and pray day and night. They believe these works are Christian fruit and produce a holy life. Accordingly, they believe that raising children, doing housework, and performing other ordinary chores aren’t part of a holy life. For false Christians look on external appearances and don’t consider the source of their works – whether or not they grow out of the vine.
But in this passage, Christ says that the only works that are good fruits are those accomplished by people who remain in him. What believers do and how they live are considered good fruit – even if these works are more menial than loading a wagon with manure and driving it away. Those false believers can’t understand this. They see these works as ordinary, everyday tasks. But there is a big difference between a believer’s works and an unbeliever’s works – even if they do the exact same thing. For an unbeliever’s works don’t spring from the vine – Jesus Christ. That’s why unbelievers cannot please God. Their works are not Christian fruit. But because a believer’s works come from faith in Christ, they are all genuine fruit.
Barnas Sears, D.D.
Controversial and visionary, Luther’s life is revealed in this rare presentation of his work as an educator and church leader. From his birth and childhood, to his religious education, and the events leading up to the Protestant Reformation, you will discover the views and experiences that led to his excommunication by the Pope in 1520. Correspondence and accounts shed further light on Luther’s defiant translation of the Bible from Latin to the language of the common man.
This unique biography is reproduced from an 1850 American Sunday School Union original, and in it you will be introduced to the pivotal life of this enigmatic man before, during, and after one of Christianity’s defining events.