Union with Christ is both a position we are in, "We are chosen in him before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:3), and a position we are called to as God beckons us to draw near: "Come with confidence before the Throne of Grace to Receive Mercy and find Grace for Help in Time of Need" (Heb 4:16). The conduit of branches being "in the vine" in John 15 is an appropriate picture country, rustic, agrarian, farming people of Jesus day and vintners in modern times, understood and understand -- branches get sap from the vine and the vine gets moisture from he roots -- but we an even more human, picture of dependence and freely receiving could also be "Come before the Throne of Grace to freely receive mercy and grace like a baby in the womb receives life from it's mother through the umbilical cord without working for it or doing anything to deserve that sustenance" -- I think the baby in the mother's womb picture is an example of receiving the free, life giving grace (power of God to live righteously in the midst of a fallen world -- and mercy: the relief from the sin of a fallen world that it made worse by our participation in anything God forbids or our abstaining from any good thing God commands) -- The definition of grace and mercy from Keil & Delitzsch ).
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 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. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples" (John 15:1-8).
It's a powerful truth, 1) that in His presence is fullness of joy, and that he is mostly love, and, 2) that in him we can bear fruit, but that apart from him we can do nothing, and nothing in the Greek means nothing of any fruitfulness -- "ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν" -- without me you can do or produce nothing creative or lasting -- no lasting change, we can't bring any fruit to maturity in the context... This is especially important when we see we are to be examined by our fruit (Matt 7), and that The Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians is contrasted to "The works of the flesh" in Galatians 5:19-26, and that the kingdom is not open to those participating in the deeds of the flesh, so Abiding in Christ really is the make it or break it point! Paul says examine ourselves 2 Cor 13:5 to see if we are in the faith and that Christ is really in us... This is all to be done in the Presence of God, in whose presence is fullness of joy, "You make known to me (show me, cause me to know) the path of LIFE, in Your presence is fullness of Joy" (Ps 16:11).
"Come before the Throne of Grace to Receive Mercy and find Grace for Help in Time of Need" (Heb 4:16) -- Receive like a baby in the womb through the umbilical cord -- the conduit of being "in the vine" in John 15 is an appropriate, and even more human, picture of dependence on Jesus...
And even all our hard work, as Paul reminds us, is not ours -- consider this " But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me" (1 Cor 15:10). We get rewarded for what God works through us, as one of my favorite pastors used to say, "because God pays so well!" But though we get rewarded for what God works through us, "we are God's workmanship," (poiema), God's poem or artistic tapestry, as Corrie Ten Boom was wont to show us the underneath of her weaving was disorderly, but the tapestry she was knitting from her, or God's perspective, was clear as to what was being knitted...
Another version says it more accurately, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (NIV); and "Gods masterpiece" (NLT).
From Him and through Him and back to Him be all things (Rom 11:36).
And we are sustained and sanctified or "kept" by communion (i.e. -- union -- relationship with, not the ordinance of The Lord's Supper and certainly not "mass" -- but our faith in Christ. Why? "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life" (Eph 2:9-10)...
Does anyone remember that we were originally created in the image of God before the fall? Christ, the visible image of the invisible God, is restoring all things -- we are actually supposed to image (look and act like) God in an increasing measure now -- and one day, fully bear His image when He returns, " 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, will transform our lowly bodies to be like His glorious body. "
This is God's final say so -- God gets His way -- I planned it, I called you, created the Gospel message by My Son's obedient life, worked in you, and then glorified you! All because I created you to image me, and the image will look like the original, and I took the biggest parts of it out of your hands because you would have messed it up and the would have devil overpowered you a long time ago.
Here is a witness to what The Holy Spirit said by Paul above in Philippians, this one by The Holy Spirit in John, "Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).
By the way, This is the Emphasis of The New Testament, Jesus, and The Summary of the Law -- That we love our neighbor as our self. 1 John says if we say we love God but don't love our neighbor we are liars (1 John 4:20). Paul says "For the whole Law is summarized in a single statement: "You must love your neighbor as yourself" (Gal 5:14).
But this is all The Holy Spirit Bearing witness to what Jesus said Himself in The Farewell Discourse in John 15.
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
Disciples’ Relation to Each Other
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another.
In Jesus' Name.
Be indebted to no one, except to one another in love, for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.
Love does no wrong to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.