This is something that I posted in that thread:
Now let’s look at the Biblical evidence. First we have John 15:1-6, which has been cited often:
**1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. **
Instead of imposing our own definitions based on our preconceived theological notions, why don’t we allow Christ to define His own terms. First of all, Calvinists want us to believe that when Christ says “every branch in Me”, he means “a person that is a member of My visible body (i.e. the Church) but that has not been spiritually united to Me.” Consequently, they make a distinction between being “in Christ” and being “in His visible body.” There are serious problems with this analysis. First of all, what does Jesus say “the Vine” represents? His visible body? No! He clearly states “I am the Vine.” In other words, the Vine represents the person of Christ. Branches are logically united to the vine and thus this metaphoric branch must be united to the person of Christ. That is the logical conclusion one draws without doing violence to the text. Otherwise, Jesus would not have referred to the person as a “branch,” since a branch – by definition – is an appendage of a plant (vine, tree, etc.).
Second of all, in every instance we find “in me” or a variant (i.e. “in him”, “in the Son”, etc.), it means a spiritual and salvific union with Christ.
1 John 2:24
24As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1 John 2:28
28Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
1 John 3:24
24The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
See also John 6:56. Calvinists even admit that all the other uses of “in me” in John 15 (highlighted above in blue) refer to a spiritual and salvific union with Christ. So then why do they suddenly break away from the standard definition and use – by Christ and John - of “in Me” when it comes to John 15:2, making it the only exception of this established rule? Because they realize that it will contradict their theology.
The third problem is that the “false professor” arguments contradicts Jesus’s own words. False professors can fool Christians, but they can never fool Christ. The “branch” in question is not the one identifying himself as being “in Christ” or having spiritual union with Christ. It is Christ Himself who identifies this person as being “in Me.” Christ knows those who are His and I would highly doubt He would identify a false professor as being “in Him,” a phrase that He and the Bible always uses as a reference to those who are genuinely saved.
Fourth of all, lets take another look at John 15:6:
6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
The word “abide” - in Greek meno – means to remain, to stay, or to continue. bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/…06&version=kjv We find a variant of this same Greek word (epimeno) in Romans 11:22-23, which has a similar theme and clearly refers to true Christians:
22Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in (epimeno) His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And they also, if they do not continue in (epimeno) their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
So in essence, what John 15:6 is saying is “If a man does not continue in me….” How can you continue in something that you were never a part of in the first place? Moreover, notice the order of events given by Jesus in this verse:
The withering is a result of the casting off, not vice versa. This makes sense because once a branch is cut off from a vine, it withers because it no longer partakes of the life giving sap of the vine. Moroever, the fact that this person “withers” after being cut off means that it was once alive. Obviously, the “withering” does not refer to physical death, but spiritual death. The life in question is thus spiritual life and its origin is in the spiritual Vine (i.e. Christ). Therefore, this person once partook of the spiritual life that is found in Christ, but he was cut off and thus no longer partakes of this life and dies.
To be continued…