We are commanded to abide in Christ. Those who do remain in Him because Christ abides in them do bear much fruit. The believer does not produce this fruit. The believer abides and bears the fruit that comes from abiding. Remember the vine is Christ. We are the branches. The branches bear the fruit that the vine produces.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:4-10 (NASB)
For the first 20 or so years of this walk I was in a very immature spiritual state. I was utterly convinced during that time that my worth as a disciple depended upon my performance, my learning, my obedience. With that mind-set it was a very horrible experience at times since I was on a roller coaster ride of obedience and backsliding. What amazed me during that period was that I was looked at as one of the more mature believers at our church. I knew better. That all changed in 2004 and 2005 as God drew me into the light and drastically changed that ‘mind-set.’ It was as I learned and held to the truth that our salvation is all according to God’s will not ours that I began to have peace and freedom. He chose us according to the good pleasure of His will, not according to our abilities or any other inherent attribute we may have. With this remaking of my mind-set came the ending of that cycle of obedience and backsliding. It was as if it had been put to death.
During that immature period of my Christian walk I thought that I was abiding in Christ while I was obedient, but not abiding while I was backsliding. That was a misconception on my part for those who abide in Christ are those who remain in Him. All genuine believers abide. The Greek word translated as “abide” in John 15 and 1 John 4 is μένω (menõ).” It means “to remain” or “to dwell.” In John 15 the command to abide in Christ is in aorist tense, imperative mood, and active voice, however, the description of our abiding such as in v5 (he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.) is a present active participle. This means it is describing continual repeated action. However, present participles are used to signify action that is contemporaneous with the leading verb in the phrase. What is the leading verb in this passage? There is only one verb in this passage and it is translated as “bears” in the NASB. The KJV translates this verb as “bringeth forth.” This Greek word is φέρω (pherō).” It means “to bear” or “to bring” or “to sustain” or “to uphold.” It is used in the New Testament several ways, but in this context it is referring to bearing the fruit that is “the fruit” of abiding in Christ.
We are commanded to abide in Christ. Those who do remain in Him because Christ abides in them do bear much fruit. The believer does not produce this fruit. The believer abides and bears the fruit that comes from abiding. Remember the vine is Christ. We are the branches. The branches bear the fruit that the vine produces. How do we know that this fruit is not our doing? How do we know if we are really abiding in Christ? Remember, those who abide are genuine Christians while those who are not genuine do not abide. There are three proofs that we can look at that show if we are truly abiding in Him.