OBJECTION SEVEN. " Christ says, ' without me you can do nothing,' (John 15:5) whence it is inferred that no man can do anything that is good, till he be first in Christ, that is, till he be endued with justifying faith."
ANSWER FIRST. This argument offends against the third general rule: for these words of Christ are spoken expressly to those who were 'abiding in Christ,' and truly believed already, that is, to his twelve apostles, to show the necessity of their continuance in that state, that they might successfully perform the work he had designed and chosen them to do, viz. ' to go forth into the World, and bring forth much fruit,' by converting many to the faith, verse 1-8, and so it signifies that without the gifts, and powerful assistance of that Holy Spirit, who belonged only to them who abode in Christ, they could do nothing to convert the world; their sufficiency for that work deriving itself entirely from that God who gives the Holy Spirit to them for that end. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
ANSWER SECOND. Gataker has well noted, that koris emo ‘without me,' is the same as koristhentes ap emo ‘being separated from me,' you can do nothing ; and this being given as a reason engaging those he spoke to, to abide still in him, if you extend it to all true Christians, (as it proves that they may not abide always such, so) it only signifies that without abiding in the faith, they cannot be fruitful in the faith; and without their continuing united to Christ by the Spirit, they cannot bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. But they do not prove that a man cannot hearken or attend to what he hears, in order to the obtaining of that faith which comes by hearing; that he cannot ask, seek, and knock for the Good Spirit, that he may be born of the Spirit; or that he cannot think of his ways, that he may turn his feet unto God's testimonies.