“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:1-8
Can a man do good works in God’s eyes without having saving faith in Jesus Christ? Many would say yes to this question, but Jesus says no.
In the Parable of the Vine and the Branches, Jesus teaches us that only those who abide in Him – those who are connected to Him through saving faith – are able to produce fruit acceptable to the LORD God; and God the Father will cut off those branches which produce no fruit for Him. He also prunes and purges those branches which do produce fruit that they might bring forth more fruit for Him.
Those who through faith are joined to Jesus Christ have forgiveness for all their sins and evil works. They are clean through the Word of the Gospel spoken to them – all their sins are washed away by the precious blood of Jesus which was shed on the cross for the sins of the whole world!
As long as they have true and saving faith in Christ and His redemptive work, they will be fruitful and do works that are acceptable and pleasing in God’s sight. This is so because Christ, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, abides in them and empowers them to live for Him, and because the sin and impurity yet in their works is forgiven and not held against them.
Apart from saving faith in Jesus Christ, one cannot do good works in God’s sight, for one remains spiritually dead to God and unable to truly love Him and honor Him with pure and holy works. He is like a branch that has been severed from the grapevine. It will not produce grapes but will wither up and eventually be thrown into the fire and be burned.
So also, the one who does not trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for forgiveness and life will not only be unable to do good works in God’s sight, he will be gathered up on the Last Day, together with all others who were unbelieving and fruitless, and be cast into the eternal fires of hell!
Abide with richest blessings among us, bounteous Lord; let us in grace and wisdom grow daily through Thy Word. Abide, O faithful Savior, among us with Thy love; grant steadfastness and help us to reach our home above. Amen. (“Abide, O Dearest Jesus,” quoted from The Lutheran Hymnal, #53, Verses 4,6)
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]