TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Vine and The Branches
To me, the Lord’s analogy about the vine and the branches is one of the most beautiful sayings. This analogy is full of depth and at the same time, it has a form of a parable to allow people not to hear the truth if they don’t want to hear it. Let’s look at it closely and see how the Lord Jesus clearly says that one can lose their salvation and end up in damnation.
John 15:1-6 (KJV)
15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in Me (true born again believers) that beareth not fruit he taketh away (true born again believers can be In Christ and still not produce fruit): and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth (sanctification of the Spirit) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word (Why now clean? because they received His words, clean people are clearly saved) which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (speaking to His disciples whom are already clean, Jesus exhorts them to abide, stay in Him)
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (If we abide in Christ, we will bring forth much fruit, without Christ, we cannot bear any fruit for the Kingdom).
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch (if we who are already clean and IN Christ, don’t remain in Him, we are cast forth from Him), and is withered (Why is the branch withered? Because it was cast forth from the vine and is no longer In the Spirit of life); and men gather them, and cast them into the fire (eternal destruction, that is loss of salvation), and they are burned.
The context of this parable is very straight-forward. The Lord Jesus is talking to His disciples which is clear from verse 3 where He is telling them they are already clean because of His word they have received. Jesus then goes on to say that as branches who are already in Him, they should now abide in the vine and produce fruit by the living sap (Spirit) extracted from the vine (Himself). He is saying that if we don’t abide in Him and if we don’t bear fruit, we will but cut off from Him and thrown away. Then because we are no longer in Him, we will be withered and will be good for nothing except to be burned (notice how this is similar to the salt of the earth that loses its saltiness and is no longer good for nothing).
The Lord Jesus Christ clearly says in verse 6 that the branches who are cast forth are burned. Because of this, OSAS believers have no choice but to say that the branches that are cast forth from the vine are not really true born-again believers. Let’s look at this objection.
OSAS Objection: These believers were never really saved, example Judas
This is an objection I once heard from a OSAS believer who is a Calvinist. The objection goes like this:
“since it is clear from other scriptures (which don’t exist by the way) that one cannot lose their salvation, these branches are not true born again believers. We only have to look at Judas Iscariot, he was part of the twelve disciples and was never saved. He was cast forth as a branch.”
When I was discussing with this brother, I asked him about John 15:2 when Jesus said: “Every branch IN ME”. He answered me that this is figuratively speaking about false believers who were with Christ but who were not really born again like Judas. So Jesus was saying something more like this:
“Every branch (that seems to be) In Me (but in reality is not) that beareth not fruit He taketh away…”
Now, dear friend, do you see that because of the “Once Saved Always Saved” doctrine, we are adding words to the verses that are not even there? There is no reason whatsoever to assume these believers are not true born-again believers. We see how OSAS believers are obviously looking at the passage from a window of preconceived doctrine.
There are in fact all the reasons in the world to say that these are true born-again believers, let’s look at them again:
- Firstly, in verse 2, Jesus Christ is saying “every branch IN ME”, He is not saying every branch “that seems to be In Me”. So the straightforward explanation is that these branches represent TRUE believers IN CHRIST. No words added or left out.
- Second, in verse 3, the Lord Jesus says to His disciples they are CLEAN because of the word He has spoken. If He declared them clean, that means they received His words and are JUSTIFIED. This is what justification does, it cleans us up. We cannot be clean unless we are in the state of salvation IN THE SPIRIT.
- Third, all through the passage, the word “abide” comes back 5 times. This word “abide” means to remain, to stay. That indicates that they were already IN Christ. If I say I will remain in my house, that means I am currently IN my house.
- Fourth, Jesus uses the expression “takes away” in verse 2. A branch that is taken away has to be taken away from somewhere. It was taken away from the vine, Jesus Christ.
- Finally, the Lord says in verse 6 that the branch that is cast forth withers. It is because it was cast forth that it withered. That means if it would have remained in the vine, Jesus Christ, it would not have withered, it would have remained ALIVE. Being alive means being in the Spirit because the Spirit is life.
It is clear therefore, that this passage is talking about true born-again believers that could lose their salvation if they don’t remain in Christ. The only reason one will ignore this is precisely to make the passage fit with an already fixed preconceived doctrine we have in our minds. That is not reading OUT of the scriptures but reading INTO them what we want them to say.
Now concerning Judas being this cast forth branch who was never saved, my answer is Judas Iscariot was part of the sent twelve who healed the sick and cast out demons, he was one of the sheep that the Father gave to Jesus. He is not a false apostle, he was a true apostle who was cut off, he was a true sheep who was lost. If you want to know more why this is true, consider reading this article “Does John 10:28 prove Once Saved Always Saved” in which I explain why Judas was part of the saved sheep the Father gave His Son.
Dear friend, can this passage be any clearer? Are you going to look inside yourself and realize that to be saved we have to remain in the vine, in Jesus Christ?
My brothers, I love you and I want to warn you, it is by remaining in Christ, by forsaking our past life of sin, by bearing fruit in keeping with repentance that we will endure until the end. We have to strive hard to stay on the narrow way. Jesus said MANY will try but few will be able. Are you going to be one of those who will stand before Jesus and say “but I thought I were saved” only to hear these words from Jesus Himself “go away, I don’t know you!”. If you turn your back to Jesus and go back to sin, you are deliberately denying Him brothers, don’t risk it. If we deny Him, He will deny us. You can be sure of this.
May God draw you to the Truth and help you remain in His Son through this article!