Our Lord clearly wants us to be truly united to Him as a branch is to a tree that feeds it. Yet the vinedresser will cut off every branch that does not bear fruit. In the same vein, the Lord himself will take away from His church all professed Christians who give no evidence by their lives that they are truly united to him. After you are cut off, you wither. To wither is to be deprived of God’s grace. This means you become cold and insensitive to the things of the Spirit.

When this happens, you become vulnerable and prey to the enemy. This is where a person backslides. The person becomes united with the world again because all his/her spiritual sensors become inactive. The fate of the unfruitful believer may eventually be hellfire. However, as the vinedresser prunes every branch that bears fruit, God purifies all true Christians to be more fruitful. He takes away that which hinders their usefulness, teaches them, quickens them, revives them, and makes them purer in motive and in life. He does this by taking away what opposes their usefulness.