How to be a fruitful believer! God cutting off unfruitful branches (part 1/2)

You’re created to bear fruit. Much fruit! To desire fruitfulness and not bear much fruit can be frustrating. “Fruit” indicates any of the virtues of our Christlike nature (in our spirits) that manifest itself in and through us. For example, joy, love, peace, faith, holiness, power, victory, etc.

Do you want to bear much fruit?

The answer to bear more fruit is found in Jesus’ words:

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:2, NIV).

Jesus makes two statements here:

  1. If you don’t bear fruit, God cuts you off.
  2. If you do bear fruit, God prunes you to bear more fruit.

In a quick glance both situations don’t seem pleasant, but rather threatening – perhaps even painful. I mean, do you, as a branch, want to be cut off or to be pruned?

The Gospel means Good News. But this sounds like Bad News and has created lot’s of anxiety among believers. Let’s examine both statements and bring our hearts at peace.

The Gospel never makes someone feel uncertain or fearful!

To be cut off

What happens to unfruitful branches? Jesus said they’re cut off. WHAT?? Is He really saying believers can be “cut off” from God’s family and lose their sonship and inheritance? If that’s true the question beckons, “When is the point that I’ve blown it to such degree that I’m dismembered from God’s family?” Let me encourage you. Your position in God’s family is as secure as Jesus’ position in the Godhead because as Jesus is so are you (1 John 4:17).

Well, what does Jesus mean with being “cut off from the Vine?”

Here’s the crux. Instead of “cut off,” which is a bad translation, it should say “to raise up or lifted up.” Unfruitful branches are lifted up out of the dirt and re-dressed so they can be nourished by the sun again. Some Christians are facedown in the dirt not looking at the Son (Jesus Christ).

When we lose sight of Christ and His love we tend slip into walking after the flesh which results in dead religious works. Instead of living from our spiritual identity in Christ and so bear much fruit we can become an unfruitful branch which means to be facedown in the dirt (being distracted by the cares of the world) and not enjoying nourishment by basking in the sun (being Christ-minded).

How to bear much fruit

What happens when we’re unfruitful because we lose sight of Christ’s love and who we are? The context of John 15 shows that God, the gentle Gardener, will remind you that He is head over heals in love with you and that you can do nothing – good or bad – that will change His burning desire and affection for you!

In speaking to you like that, He’s lifting up your face from the dirt to look up to His Son so that you’ll walk after your divine identity and bear much fruit instead of producing dead religious works by walking after the flesh.

How do you bear much fruit?

  1. Know God’s love (He loves you independent of your behaviour).
  2. Know who you are (you are His beloved).

To sum up, when we’re an unfruitful branch (being naturally minded), God helps us through His indwelling Spirit to lift our attention on the things above (being spiritually minded) so we’ll bear much spiritual fruit in and through us.

In the next post we’ll look at the second statement of Jesus and hear the good news about God’s method of pruning. Stay tuned.


  1. I’ve never heard that interpretation of “being cut off” before. It makes a lot of sense, but how does that work with the verses that talk about the unfruitful being cast into the fire, such as Matthew 3:10?

    • basrijksen says

      I’m planning to share on that in the nearby future 🙂 In short, when Jesus talks for example about branches being cast out and thrown into the fire (John 15:6), He’s not referring to fruitless Christians (they’re lifted up), but those who refuse to believe that He is the Son of God.


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