This classic passage from John 15 lays out two key principles for the child of God: union and communion with Christ. Union with Christ takes place as he is saved and placed into the body of Christ. The believer is grafted into the Vine, forever attached to the One who gives him this new life. As Paul puts it, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV)
Communion with Christ is delighting in Him, walking faithfully with Him submitting to His authority and will, depending fully on His grace. The branches are nourished and sustained by the Vine. This communion is the daily endeavor of the believer. He is to walk by and keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25). This implies that the child of God both gets in line behind the Spirit in order to follow Him, and at the same time he is empowered by the Spirit to walk on this path.
Without union and communion, it is impossible for anyone to produce any fruit at all. Nothing is possible! Can God make it any clearer than that? However, as we are in union and communion with Christ, God promises that we will bear fruit, not just a little sampler platter of fruit. No, He states it will be baskets full. This is His guarantee and the evidence of true saving grace manifested in the lives of His children.
Putting all this in the context of holiness, J.C. Ryle wrote, “Holiness comes from Christ. It is the result of vital union with Him. It is the fruit of being a living branch of the true Vine” and “Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word” (Holiness, 34, 48).
The Vine who laid down His life for His friends, calls us to bear much fruit. We are rescued and given new life for that very reason—that through union and communion with Christ, we might bear much fruit. And in doing this, our Father is glorified.