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Baptized into An Organic Union with Christ

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4).

If you have entrusted your life to Christ, at the point of repentance and abandonment to Him (believing), something happened at the core of your being. The Spirit of God came into your life and baptized you into the Body of Christ. Here’s what Paul the apostle wrote:

12Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

In some unseen spiritual way, the Holy Spirit dipped us, soaked, and saturated us (that's what baptism means) into an organic union with Christ. Notice that Paul the apostle writes that it is not some Christians who the Spirit baptizes, but all. Every true believer in Christ resides in the spiritual body of Christ. God has placed you in a spiritual union with Christ and the rest of the family of God—your brothers and sisters in Christ. The Spirit of God maintains the connection with the Head of the Body, Jesus Christ. We are the arms, legs, hands, and feet of this organic union with the Lord. All Christians are in Christ Jesus; a phrase repeated 174 times in the New Testament (and its equivalents in Jesus, in the Lord, in the Son, etc.). In my younger days as a commercial fisherman, the net had to be towed and connected to the trawler to catch fish on the bottom of the seabed. The net was not effective in what it was designed to do unless it was connected to the boat, the power source that towed it along the seabed.

In our passage at the top of the page from John 15:4, we are told that we will not bear fruit unless we remain in Him and keep that ongoing organic connection vital. Relationship and connection to Christ are the keys. It's like emailing or texting one another back and forth via the Internet, Facebook, or some other program. An invisible source, the Internet, connects two people. In the picture of the vine, the Lord is saying that He has made a living connection with all who believe, a connection that is unseen but very powerful. Through this connection, there is a flow of life-giving spiritual sap from Him to you that brings forth fruit.

Let's think more about what Christ said: He is the Vine, and we are the branches. The fruit is not seen on the rootstock of the vine. The manifestation of the vine's fruit is at the level of the branches. The vine's fruit comes from a single rootstock, and what we are saying is that Christ, and the spiritual DNA of His life, flow into every branch connected to Him. Paul the apostle used the same analogy in his letter to the Romans when he wrote that we Gentiles are grafted into the rootstock of the covenant God made with Israel (Romans 11:16-20).

Jesus described His relationship with His followers this way: "I am the Vine. You are the branches." He did not say, "I am the foundation, and you are the upper floors." He describes our relationship with Himself as an organic union. He has so united Himself with us that He does not want to be known apart from us or for us to be known apart from Him. He identifies with us. We are identified with Him. “For to us to live is Christ…” (Philippians 1:21a). Keith Thomas

Taken from the series: the Gospel of John series. The study is 30. Jesus, the True Vine


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