Lesson 7: Grace That Sanctifies
Devotion: Read John 15:1-8. Jesus specifically mentions sanctification once (Jn 17:17-19), but we hear the call to holy living often in his words. To be fruitful disciples, exhibiting the result of health and growth, we must abide in the life-giving power of God. There is a natural connection between grace that sanctifies and spirituality. The more we abide in the Spirit, the more we will bear fruit. Christian faith does not rely on our best efforts to be enough. Yes, we must give our best, but, thanks be to God, our efforts are magnified and guided by God! If our best efforts were adequate, the Law would have been a sufficient guide! God’s presence lifts us beyond what we are capable of on our own. Using our own power we can become good or nice people, but only God can transform us into the likeness of Jesus. When have you tried to do everything on your own? How might the modern Church unintentionally teach that our best efforts are enough? What is the relationship between growth and spirituality? How can we encourage one another to rely more on God and less on our own abilities?
Personal Worship Option: Rest, be aware of God’s presence, and delight in God’s good creation today.
Dig A Little Deeper:
15:1 The image of God’s people (“Israel”) as a vine comes from the Jewish Bible (Ps 80:8-16; Is 5:1-7). This passage fulfills those images by identifying Jesus as the true vine. In this sense, Jesus is identified as the true Israel. Since Jesus’ words are offered in a Last Supper setting (13:1-31), this is also a commentary on Holy Communion. How is the idea of communion with God reflected in Jesus’ words? How are the images of eating and drinking the elements of Communion symbolically similar to the metaphor of a vine abiding in a branch?
15:2 If “bearing fruit” means living faithfully, what does “pruning” look like? What does it mean that God “cuts off every branch” that bears no fruit?
15:4 Faithful living is only possible when we remain connected to Jesus. Christian spirituality is the practice of staying connected to God through Jesus.
15:7 This verse is not an invitation to selfishness – just the opposite. If we are in union with God, then we will be praying for what God desires.