In addition to being many grains of wheat, the believers are also the many branches of the vine. This means that the believers are members of the Christ of God to form the organism of the Triune God in the divine dispensing. In John 15:1 the Lord Jesus declares, “I am the true vine,” and in verse 5 He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This vine, which is Christ, with its branches, which are the believers in Christ, is the organism of the Triune God in God’s economy to grow with His riches and to express His divine life.
Christ and the believers, the vine with the branches, form the organism of the Triune God in the divine dispensing. The vine in John 15, therefore, is a universal vine comprising Christ and His believers as the branches. In this vine, this organism, the Triune God lives, expresses Himself, and dispenses Himself to the uttermost.
In John 15 we see the focus of what God is doing in the universe. Here the Father is a husbandman, a farmer, cultivating the true vine, Christ, with its branches, the believers in Christ. In His economy God is growing Christ, and all of us are branches in Christ as the true vine.
Christ, the infinite God, is the vine, and we are His branches. We are actually branches of the infinite God, organically one with Him. This means that we have been organically joined to the Triune God. Now we are part of God, even as the members of our bodies are parts of us. If we are in the light, we shall see that we are members of Christ, that we are part of Him.
We have become branches of the vine, members of the Christ of God, by the branching out of the vine, for the branches are the spreading of the vine. By our natural life we are not branches of the vine. On the contrary, by our fallen nature we are branches of Adam and even branches of the Devil. Just as a branch is the branching out of a tree, so when we were born we were just the branching out of Adam. As branches of Adam, we were also branches of Satan. The wonderful thing is that when we believed in the Lord Jesus, He branched out into us. This branching out has made us branches of this wonderful Christ. Therefore, Christ’s branching out has made us branches of Christ as the vine. Now as branches we are filled with Christ as life, for to be a branch in the vine means that Christ has become our life.
No plant other than the vine can illustrate adequately the living relationship between the believers and Christ. A vine differs from a tree in that it has virtually no trunk. If you cut off the branches of a vine, there is practically nothing left, only the root. It is very significant, therefore, that the Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” The vine is everything to the branches. Whatever is in the vine is also in the branches. This indicates that as the vine Christ is a great enjoyment for us, the branches. From the vine and through the vine we receive everything we need to live as branches.
As believers, we are branches of the vine and are good for nothing except to express the vine. All that the vine is and has is expressed through the branches. Individually, the branches are the regenerated ones. Corporately, they are the church, the Body of Christ. The branches, the believers in the Son, are for the expression of the Son with the Father through fruit bearing.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 099-113), Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)