Bible Answer

Is there any hope for a believer whose branches have been “cut off”?

In John 15:6, it says that a non-fruit bearing Christian will be cut off and thrown into the fire.  Is there any way for them to be restored to usefulness? I feel I have never been good at bearing fruit, and instead been a drain on the resources of my church. But I want to be able to serve and belong in a fellowship.

In John 15 Jesus taught the parable of the vine. As Pastor Armstrong presents in Lesson 15 of our John Study, the parable explains the necessity of bearing fruit for Christ; that if we abide in Christ seeking His will and living by His grace, we may produce spiritual fruit. 

In the parable, Jesus said those who don’t produce fruit at first are “lifted up” so they may produce, like young vines tied to a stronger, more mature branch. Perhaps this is who you are? Why assume you are beyond strengthening, especially since you have a heart to serve and love God’s word. 

Even if you are one of those Christians who Jesus says are cut off for lack of fruit, the parable doesn’t suggest this is a forever judgment. It’s a metaphoric use of the idea of pruning branches, which is done to stimulate more fruit in the future. For as long as you are alive, you have the potential to serve Christ and produce fruit. 

If you are studying God’s word and being blessed in that study, then you are already producing fruit and should expect to do all the more in the future. You need not dwell on failures of the past, as Paul says:

Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
Phil. 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Don’t focus on your past mistakes, which only become excuses to fail in the future. Instead, focus on serving Christ now in the grace He has given you to recognize your errors and to want for better. The parable never suggests that a believer is beyond the opportunity bear fruit or serve Christ. Until we breathe our last, we are serving Him and may glorify Him still. 

Finally, if you are not already participating in a Bible-teaching church, then you are missing your best opportunity to serve. We strongly encourage you to join a congregation that values God’s word and then get involved. The church body is the place the Lord has provided to build us up in service to others.