Abiding in the true Vine brings the deepest kind of security. Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Those who are in him cannot be removed, they cannot be cut off, and they need not fear judgment. There is no suggestion here that those who now abide might later cease to do so. Their position is secure.
On the other hand, those who do not abide will be judged. Jesus says in verse 6, "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." He is referring to the Judas-branches, the false disciples. Since they have no living connection to Jesus Christ, they are cast out.
The true believer could never be thrown away. Jesus promises in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out." If a person is cast forth, it is because he was never a real disciple.
The branches that are cast off are gathered and burned. They burn forever and ever. It is a tragic picture of God's judgment.
The parable of the wheat and tares tells us that the angels of God gather those destined for judgment. Jesus says in Matthew 13:41-42, "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
There will be a day when God sends His angels to gather from around the world the Judas-branches who have no connection to Christ. He will cast them into eternal hell. It is tragic when a person appears to be a genuine branch but ends up in hell.
William Pope was a member of the MethodistChurch in England for most of his life. He made a pretense of knowing Christ and served in many capacities. His wife died a genuine believer.
Soon, however, he began to drift from Christ. He had companions who believed in the redemption of demons. He began going with them to the public house of prostitution. In time, he became a drunkard.
He admired Thomas Paine and would assemble with his friends on Sundays when they would confirm each other in their infidelity. They amused themselves by throwing the Bible on the floor and kicking it around.
Finally, he contracted tuberculosis. Someone visited him and told him of the great Redeemer. He said Pope could be saved from the punishment of his sins.
But Pope replied, "I have no contrition; I cannot repent. God will damn me! I know the day of grace is lost. God has said to such as me, 'I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear cometh.' I have denied Him; my heart is hardened."
Then he cried, "Oh, the hell, the pain I feel! I have chosen my way. I have done the horrible damnable deed; I have crucified the Son of God afresh; I have counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing! Oh that wicked and horrible thing of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which I know that I have committed; I want nothing but hell! Come, oh devil and take me!"
Pope spent most of his life in the church, but his end was infinitely worse than his beginning. Every man has the same choice. You can abide in the Vine and receive all of God's blessings, or you can be 'burned'.
It doesn't seem like a difficult choice, does it? Yet millions of people resist God's gift of salvation, preferring the superficial relationship of the false branch. Perhaps you know people like that--or perhaps you are like that yourself. If so, Jesus' plea to you is a loving invitation: "Abide in me, and I in you."