Interpreting John 15:1-5: The Unfruitful Branch
1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will 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.Once Saved, Always Saved
5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5 NIV)
The issue that we are dealing here is whether the "unfruitful branches" refers to true believers or false believers. Is it possible for true believers to be "cut off from the true vine"? No, it is not. For in John 10:27-28, it is written of true believers: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand."
It is written in 1 John 3:6, "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him." This verse explicitly tells us that the false believers has never "remain in Christ" in the first place, as they have neither SEEN Jesus Christ nor KNOWN Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:19 also refers to false believers as never being part of the body of Christ: "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
Before salvation, true believers who were unbelievers cannot "bear fruit to God". (Romans 7:4) Can false believers and unbelievers bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Definitely not. Only with the Holy Spirit working in us, we can bear fruit, which is "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol." (Galatians 5:22-23) False prophets, who are false believers, are recognized by their fruit: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." (Matthew 7:15-16) The unbelievers' fruit is also referred to as the "fruit for death" (Romans 7:5)
In conclusion, the "unfruitful branches" in John 15:1-5 refers to false believers, NOT true believers.