Can we do nothing without God’s grace? Do we have to rely on Him for everything every time? And if so, what about those who don’t believe in Christ and seems to achieve things through hard work?(not undermining the importance of giving our all in a believer’s life) Based on John 15:5 and John Piper’s article : https://googleweblight.com/i?u=https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/we-can-do-nothing&hl=en-IN
@Theja That is a great question.
I think with John 15:5 it is helpful to ask some basic questions of the Bible text:
Who was the audience? The disciples - not just anyone
What did Jesus mean by fruit? Jesus was commissioning the disciples to go testify about Him - to make disciples. So the fruit Jesus is describing is the life of the Spirit in the disciples and other peoples’ hearts transformed through their ministry.
Jesus is not saying that we can’t make breakfast or build a fortune 500 company without the Spirit (assuming God allows us to live upon the earth). Jesus was addressing disciples about their mission to spread the Gospel. Jesus is saying that we cannot live a truly godly life or spread His Kingdom on the earth without remaining connected to Him - the True Vine.
What are your thoughts? Is that helpful?
Theja, Sean’s offers great points. Here’s my take on your question.
All humanity is created in God’s image. We are each created with the gifts and capacities that God chooses for us. Generally speaking, unless there is diminished capacity, we can all think, we can all build/create, we all have a will, make choices, etc. So even the non-believer is working with a toolbox handed to him/her by God. They can think, build, love, do good/evil, etc…all the things we are wired to do. But for the non-believer all their acts and works are in a temporal setting. Is their good good? Yes. Is it eternal? There’s the rub. For the sincere and intentional believer, their efforts are in an eternal setting–an entirely different framework for all they do.
Here’s a potential metaphor: A non-believer’s work is dependent on their own battery (the only source they choose to take advantage of). Even if they work hard to recharge that battery, eventually it will wear out and no longer take a charge.
Of course even Christians erroneously try to operate from their own battery. That’s why Christ directs the disciples (and us) to “abide in me.” The more we abide in Christ the more we are directly connected to the source that never needs recharging. And with that unending source of energy, fruit production is inevitable.
Note that in John 15 producing fruit is the outcome…not the command. Abide is the command. Abiding is the smart and wise thing to do, so I ask myself…why don’t I always do it?