Updated: Jan 2
By Luke Lancaster
Another example of mortal sin is breaking the 10 commandments in a grievous way. This can be seen in John’s Gospel, where Jesus gives the analogy of the vine and the branches. Jesus says that He is the vine, and that we are the branches (Jn. 15:5). Every branch of His, meaning every Christian, needs to “remain” or “abide” in Him, as every branch needs to stay attached to the vine to stay alive (15:4). The question then becomes, how does a Christian remain in Christ?
He clarifies: “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” (15:10). Christians need to obey the 10 commandments of God in order to be a functioning branch of Christ’s. This is so serious in Christ’s mind that He boldly proclaims: “If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned” (15:6). Branches don't survive fire. So, this fire isn't likely purgative, but referring to Hell (such as Mt. 25:41, etc.). So, if a Christian seriously disobeys Christ’s commandments, he is broken off from Christ and goes to Hell.
It is, as Protestant Scripture scholar I. Howard Marshall said, a “warning [to] disciples who disobey Christ that they may cut themselves off from him” (New Testament Theology, p. 508 footnote). Now, some may object that Jesus could not possibly mean this, for no Christian could keep all of Christ’s commandments. To answer that question, see the article following this.