"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16)
The branch does not choose the vine, or decide on which vine it will grow. The vine brings forth the branch, as and where it will. Even so, Christ says, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." But some will say that this is the difference between the branch in the natural and in the spiritual world.Man has a will and a power of choosing. It is in virtue of his having decided to accept Christ, his having chosen Him as Lord, that he is now a branch. This is undoubtedly true. And yet it is only a half truth.
The lesson of the Vine, and the teaching of our Lord, point to the other half - the deeper, the divine side of our being in Christ. If He had not chosen us, we would never have chosen Him. Our choosing Him was the result of His choosing us, and taking hold of us. In the very nature of things, it is His prerogative as Vine to choose and create His own branch. We owe all that we are to "the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). Drink deep of this blessed truth, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," and you will know Christ as the true Vine, the sole origin and strength of the branch life. You will see yourselves as branches in absolute, most blessed, and most secure dependence on Him.
And why does Christ say this? So that they may know the object for which He chose them, and find, in their faith in His election, the certainty of fulfilling their destiny. Throughout Scripture, this is the great object of the teaching of election. "Predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son" ( to be branches in the image and likeness of the Vine) (Romans 8:29). "Chosen ... that we should be holy" (Ephesians 1:4). "Chosen to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit" (2 Thessalonins 2:13). "Elect ... through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience" (1 Peter 1:2).
Some have abused the doctrine of election. And others, for fear of its abuse, have rejected it because they have overlooked this teaching. They have dwelled on its hidden origin in eternity, with the inscrutable mysteries of the counsels of God, instead of accepting the revelation of its purpose. They do not know about the blessings it brings into our Christian life.
Just think what these blessings are. In our verse, Christ reveals His twofold purpose in choosing us to be His branches. He has done so that we may bear fruit on earth, and have power in prayer in heaven. What confidence the thought that He has chosen us for this gives. He will not fail to prepare us for carrying out His purpose. What assurance that we can bear fruit that will abide, and can pray so as to obtain it! What a continual call to the deepest humility and praise, to the most entire dependence and expectancy! He would not choose us for what we are not fit for, or for what He could not fit us for. He has chosen us; this is the pledge. He will do all in us.
Let us listen in silence of soul to our holy Vine speaking to each of us, "You have not chosen Me!" And let us say, "Yes, Lord, but I choose You now! Amen, Lord!" Ask Him to show you what this means. In Him, the true Vine, your life as branch has its divine origin, its eternal security, and the power to fulfill His purpose. From Him to whose will of love you owe all, you may except all. In Him, His purpose, His power, and His faithfulness, in His love let me abide.
I chose you. Lord, teach me what this means - that You have set Your heart on me, and chosen me to bear fruit that will abide, and to pray prayers that will prevail. In this Your eternal purpose, my soul will find rest and say, "What He chose me for I will be, I can be, I shall be." Amen