6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Those words of Christ are most disconcerting, terrifying and unsettling to everyone who claims to be a Christian and yet does not abide in Christ. He who lives in sin habitually without genuine repentance, or he who lives without bearing spiritual fruit that Christ seeks to find in a Christian, is unequivocally declared damned for eternal fire. Those words are spoken with such absolute clarity and jurisdiction that a professing Christian has no room for assurance. Unless the pretentious man repents, he will be cast into the fire! What an unambiguous, thunderous voice of judgment upon professors of religion who have no heart to live for Christ!
When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, Judas had already gone out from among their midst to betray Christ. Those who live their lives like Judas, secretly cherishing materialism and other ungodliness while professing to love the Lord, will suffer the tragic end forewarned by Christ in this verse. Their attitude and actions will prove that they do not abide in Christ, and that they do not possess genuine faith in Him. If one claims to believe in Christ, and yet live without an abiding dependence on Him that produces spiritual fruit, he is not a Christian. In fact, Jesus said that if a man does not abide in Him, “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered”. The word “withered” shows that he is dried up and without any evidence of life and fruit. In other words, an individual who does not abide in Christ may linger on in this life for some while, but he would not manifest any fruit of the life in Christ.
Every Christian ought to abide in Christ, like a branch that abides in the vine. Earlier Jesus had said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit” (John 15:2). In fact, Jesus said again that everyone who abides in Him will bring forth “much fruit” (v. 5). What is then “the fruit” that the one who abides in Christ would produce? From the subsequent verses of John 15, we learn something concerning the spiritual fruit of the one who abides in Christ. They are: (i) abiding in the Word and prayer (v. 7); (ii) glorifying the Father through a life of prayer (vv. 8, 16); (iii) continuing in His love (vv. 9, 10); (iv) obeying His commandments (vv. 10, 14); (v) rejoicing in Christ (v. 11); (vi) loving one another (vv. 12-13); and (vii) being a witness to the world (vv. 16, 27).