John 15:1-6 (NASB) says “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 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. 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. 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.”
What does it mean to be cut off as it says in some versions? How do you know if you have been cut off?
This is a parable that Jesus spoke about our salvation. He also says that we have been grafted in because we weren’t part of the original. The overall idea here is that our spiritual life and indeed our life is found as we are attached to Him. He is our life. This is why He said in John 14, “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE.”
To understand what it means to be cut off it helps to understand what it means to be connected. Although it seems this should be a basic understanding, many people actually miss it. Some people believe they are connected to God because they go or belong to a church. That is the equivalent here of being in a vineyard. I’ve been in vineyards. I’ve seen many healthy grapevines. I’ve also seen at the edge of the vineyard (but still in it) piles of discarded trimmings. They are technically IN the vineyard, however they are quickly dying, not being connected to the vine.
Some people believe they are Christian because of their heritage. Let’s think again of the pile of discarded vine trimmings. Each one of those dead branches has the same DNA as the vine it was cut off of. However, not being connected, it is lifeless and dying. To be cut off means to be separated from the vine or the source of life. Now we will discuss several ways that we can be cut off.
This first way I will mention is NOT what is being talked about in the scriptures you presented. This is self detachment. If a person separates themselves they are in danger of losing life. That life is also multifaceted. Firstly its life here, but secondly its life eternal. Sure you may live separated from God, but it isn’t true life, the life He has for you. This is a sad existence devoid of purpose.
The second way, and THIS IS what Jesus was referring to is in judgement, when our lives are over. To be cut off happens when we live a life of rejecting Christ and His way, and we are thrown into hell. This is what it means to be cut off and burned.
So how do you know? Well, in short, you will know when you become aware of where you end up. However, you can be assured ahead of time too. Those who are perishing, even while they live, often have no idea. I didn’t. When I lived a life separated from Christ, I thought in the sense of salvation I was ok. I was clueless to the idea that I wasn’t. Now I know. I know because I know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I have a relationship with Jesus and as it says in Romans 8:16 (NASB), “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”
The Bible is our mirror. As we read it and acknowledge its Truth, it reflects our standing with God to us. His Spirit on the inside of us, also bears witness. We don’t have to be surprised when that day comes, because when you live with true Life, it’s never ending!
I want to take a brief moment here and say, if you read this and don’t know if you have this life I speak of, reach out to us please. We will help you connect to it. It is not joining a church or being a certain denomination, it’s finding God and having a relationship with Him. It’s a truly wonderful existence!