Day 2: What About Works?

True or False: Good works are the fruit, not the root, of salvation.

Yesterday, we saw how Scripture says good works are not the reason why people are saved, but the result of their being saved. Today, we look at John 15:5 where Jesus reinforces this truth:

“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.”

John 15:5

Here Jesus pictures good works as fruit.

In other words, they are the fruit and not the root of salvation. To bear fruit, a person must abide in Jesus. It’s like a branch. To be fruitful, it must be connected to the vine. The vine gives the branch life and thus the ability to bear fruit.

The branch doesn’t first bear fruit and only then is it accepted by the vine as worthy to be attached to him. That’s a ridiculous thought—one nobody would ever consider.

Likewise, Jesus says, nobody can do anything before abiding in him. In the verse right before this one, Jesus said:

“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

John 15:4

To bear fruit, to do good works, a person must abide in Jesus.

This means more than knowing Jesus exists. Or that he was a great teacher. Or that he is a wonderful example. Abiding means trusting he has already done everything to make you worthy to live eternally with God. Abiding in Jesus means having all your hopes of living eternally with God rest solely on Jesus. Abiding does not split a person’s trust between what Jesus did and what they do.

As we saw already yesterday, God wants us to do good works. Or as Jesus here says, he wants us to bear much fruit. What God doesn’t want is for us to look at these works as a reason why he will save us. He wants us to see that salvation and eternal life are his gifts to us.

Remember: good works are the fruit, not the root, of salvation.

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