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St. Cyril expounds of the passage of Scripture John 15:5 speaking of the union of the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit. A rich and powerful exposition from the Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt in AD 400. He is known for the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus where he defended the "inseparable unity" of the Divine and human nature of Christ. Read now his exposition: The Lord calls himself the vine and those united to him branches (John 15:5) in order to teach us how much we shall benefit from our union with him, and how important it is for us to remain in his love. By receiving the Holy Spirit, who is the bond of union between us and Christ our Savior, those who are joined to him, as branches are to a vine, share in his own nature. On the part of those who come to the vine, their union with him depends upon a deliberate act of the will; on his part, the union is effected by grace. Because we had good will, we made the act of faith that brought us to Christ, and received from him the dignity of adoptive sonship that made us his own kinsmen, according to the words of Saint Paul: He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. The prophet Isaiah calls Christ the foundation, because it is upon him that we as living and spiritual stones are built into a holy priesthood to be a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. Upon no other foundation than Christ can this temple be built. Here Christ is teaching the same truth by calling himself the vine, since the vine is the parent of its branches, and provides their nourishment. From Christ and in Christ, we have been reborn through the Spirit in order to bear the fruit of life; not the fruit of our old, sinful life but the fruit of a new life founded upon our faith in him and our love for him. Like branches growing from a vine, we now draw our life from Christ, and we cling to his holy commandment in order to preserve this life. Eager to safeguard the blessing of our noble birth, we are careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, and who makes us aware of God’s presence in us. Let the wisdom of John teach us how we live in Christ and Christ lives in us: The proof that we are living in him and he is living in us is that he has given us a share in his Spirit. Just as the trunk of the vine gives its own natural properties to each of its branches, so, by bestowing on them the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the only-begotten Son of the Father, gives Christians a certain kinship with himself and with God the Father because they have been united to him by faith and determination to do his will in all things. He helps them to grow in love and reverence for God, and teaches them to discern right from wrong and to act with integrity.
You want grapes from your grapevine, you want passionfruit from your passionfruit vine, you want kiwifruit from your kiwifruit vine, and God the Father wants fruit from the branches of the true Vine which is Christ the Son. John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." The branches are those who are attached to Christ, are supported by Him in all things, are enlivened by Him, and expected to produce fruit. John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." Branches that bear fruit get pruned but not removed. The pruning leads to the production of more fruit as long as the branch stays attached to the Vine. John 15:2 "Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit." When gardeners check out their vines and discover unproductive and dead branches there is only one solution - cut them of. John 15:6 "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." We might wonder how a formerly healthy fruit-producing branch can become an unproductive dead branch, and how a spiritually healthy Christian can become spiritually dead with no good fruit to give. There may be many causes, all of which are avoidable by simply abiding in the Vine. John 15:7 "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." The Word of God distinguishes between fruit-bearing branches and non-fruit-bearing branches, between those who are abiding in Christ and those who aren't abiding in Christ but instead abiding in the world and in its darkness. John 15:3 "Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." If Christ is our heart's delight He will give us our heart's desire, which should be to produce fruit, regardless of the pruning that comes with it, producing fruit for the kingdom of God to benefit from...John 15:8 "Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples."