on John 15 :2
Every branch in me - I stand in the same relation to my followers, and they to me, as the vine to the branches, and the branches to the vine.
He taketh away - As the vine-dresser will remove every unfruitful branch from the vine, so will my Father remove every unfruitful member from my mystical body - such as Judas, the unbelieving Jews, the apostatizing disciples, and all false and merely nominal Christians, who are attached to the vine by faith in the word and Divine mission of Christ, while they live not in his life and Spirit, and bring forth no fruit to the glory of God; and also every branch which has been in him by true faith - such as have given way to iniquity, and made shipwreck of their faith and of their good conscience: all these he taketh away.
He purgeth it - He pruneth. The branch which bears not fruit, the husbandman αερει αυτο, taketh It away; but the branch that beareth fruit, καθαιρει αυτο, he taketh away From it, i.e. he prunes away excrescences, and removes every thing that might hinder its increasing fruitfulness. The verb καθαιρω; from κατα, intens. and αιρω, I take away, signifies ordinarily to cleanse, purge, purify, but is certainly to be taken in the sense of pruning, or cutting off, in this text, as the verb purgare is used by Horace, Epist. lib. i. ep. vii. v. 51.
Cultello proprios purgantem leniter ungues.
"Composedly Paring his own nails with a penknife."
He who brings forth fruit to God's glory, according to his light and power, will have the hinderances taken away from his heart; for his very thoughts shall be cleansed by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
on John 15 :2
Every branch in me - Everyone that is a true follower of me, that is united to me by faith, and that truly derives grace and strength from me, as the branch does from the vine. The word "branch" includes all the boughs, and the smallest tendrils that shoot out from the parent stalk. Jesus here says that he sustains the same relation to his disciples that a parent stalk does to the branches; but this does not denote any physical or incomprehensible union. It is a union formed by believing on him; resulting from our feeling our dependence on him and our need of him; from embracing him as our Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend. We become united to him in all our interests, and have common feelings, common desires, and a common destiny with him. We seek the same objects, are willing to encounter the same trials, contempt, persecution, and want, and are desirous that his God shall be ours, and his eternal abode ours. It is a union of friendship, of love, and of dependence; a union of weakness with strength; of imperfection with perfection; of a dying nature with a living Saviour; of a lost sinner with an unchanging Friend and Redeemer. It is the most tender and interesting of all relations, but not more mysterious or more physical than the union of parent and child, of husband and wife Ephesians 5:23, or friend and friend.
That beareth not fruit - As the vinedresser will remove all branches that are dead or that bear no fruit, so will God take from his church all professed Christians who give no evidence by their lives that they are truly united to the Lord Jesus. He here refers to such cases as that of Judas, the apostatizing disciples, and all false and merely nominal Christians (Dr. Adam Clarke).
He taketh away - The vine-dresser cuts it off. God removes such in various ways:
1. by the discipline of the church.
2. by suffering them to fall into temptation.
3. by persecution and tribulation, by the deceitfulness of riches, and by the cares of the world Matthew 13:21-22; by suffering the man to be placed in such circumstances as Judas, Achan, and Ananias were such as to show what they were, to bring their characters fairly out, and to let it be seen that they had no true love to God.
4. by death, for God has power thus at any moment to remove unprofitable branches from the church.
Every branch that beareth fruit - That is, all true Christians, for all such bear fruit. To bear fruit is to show by our lives that we are under the influence of the religion of Christ, and that that religion produces in us its appropriate effects, Galatians 5:22-23. Notes, Matthew 7:16-20. It is also to live so as to be useful to others, As a vineyard is worthless unless it bears fruit that may promote the happiness or subsistence of man, so the Christian principle would be worthless unless Christians should live so that others may be made holy and happy by their example and labors, and so that the world may be brought to the cross of the Saviour.
He purgeth it - Or rather he prunes it, or cleanses it by pruning. There is a use of words here - a paronomasia - in the original which cannot be retained in the translation. It may be imperfectly seen by retaining the Greek words "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away αἴρει airei; every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it καθαίρει kathairei; now ye are clean καθαροί katharoi," etc. The same Greek word in different forms is still retained. God purifies all true Christians so that they may be more useful. He takes away that which hindered their usefulness; teaches them; quickens them; revives them; makes them more pure in motive and in life. This he does by the regular influences of his Spirit in sanctifying them, purifying their motives, teaching them the beauty of holiness, and inducing them to devote themselves more to him. He does it by taking away what opposes their usefulness, however much they may be attached to it, or however painful to part with it; as a vine-dresser will often feel himself compelled to lop off a branch that is large, apparently thrifty, and handsome, but which bears no fruit, and which shades or injures those which do. So God often takes away the property of his people, their children, or other idols. He removes the objects which bind their affections, and which render them inactive. He takes away the things around man, as he did the valued gourds of Jonah Jon 4:5-11, so that he may feel his dependence, and live more to the honor of God, and bring forth more proof of humble and active piety.
on John 15 :2
15:2 Every one that beareth fruit, he purifieth - by obeying the truth, 1Pet 1:22; and by inward or outward sufferings, Heb 12:10,11. So purity and fruitfulness help each other. That it may bear more fruit - For this is one of the noblest rewards God can bestow on former acts of obedience, to make us yet more holy, and fit for farther and more eminent service.