Grace and Grape Jelly

Vines and Branches and Things

Rick’s been gone to Heaven for a bit over a year, but his words still visit me often. And this week, as I was reading Chapter 4 of Jerry Bridges’ book, “The Discipline of Grace,” this “Rickism” is the one that came back to me:

“If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, while it might be a platypus, smart money says bet duck every time.” – Rick Dawson

What does that mean as far as this book and this chapter goes? Well, let me use another analogy. We’ll come back to the ducks and platypuses.

But first, let’s read one of my favorite scripture passages.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:1, 4-5 NIV

And here’s the analogy — Grapes grow on a vine. (See the picture above.) Lots of grape-y things come from grapevines. Raisins. Wine. And my favorite — grape jelly. When we taste raisins or wine or grape jelly, we recognize that they have come from the grape. You and I will never pick and eat a fresh grape that it is going to surprise us and taste like a carrot or a parsnip. The grape bears the characteristics of the fruit of the vine from which it comes. And real grape jelly can’t come from anywhere else but the vine that nourished it into becoming a grape. The grape takes on the nature of the vine that it is connected to. And alas, so do we. If we allow ourselves to be nourished by hatred, we will not bear the fruit of love. If we allow ourselves to be nourished by judgment, we will never bear the fruit of mercy and understanding. But when we allow ourselves to be nourished by the God who is Himself love, we will bear the fruit of love. Like grape jelly.

If it looks like grape jelly, smells like grape jelly, and tastes like grape jelly, smart money says bet grape jelly — or ducks — every time. (I told you I’d come back to the duck analogy!!)

Jerry Bridges says, “Just as the branches share in the life of the vine, so we share in the very life of Christ Himself.” (Bridges, 73).

My prayer is that I share in the life and the love of Christ so that I can bear the fruit of life and love in Christ.

This is week four of our discussion on Bridges’ book. You’re more than welcome to read along with us — or not and write responses — or not. We’re pretty easy-going around here! If you have written a response to this week’s chapter, you can link it up at the widget below. Make sure to also pay a visit to my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen. He’s a pretty nice guy. He’ll make you feel at home at his place, too!

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About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara says:

    Very good words to chew on during these times. As we are the branches we need to show His love during these times not anything as you said “share in the life and love of Christ so that I can bear the fruit of life and the love in Christ”. Amen.

  2. Excellent reflection, Sarah! Yes, we can only bear good fruit in this life if we are grafted onto Jesus. Blessings!

  3. Amen. Knowing and understanding I am connected whether I feel it particularly or not… that’s so important! Thanks Sarah.

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