'every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away'
'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'
Some who appear to be members in good standing in the Christian community may eventually turn out never truly to have been part of it in the first place…
Many are reckoned by men’s opinions to be in the vine, who in fact have no root in the vine. Thus in the prophets the Lord calls the people of Israel His vine because by outward profession they had the name of the church.
...it is hard to see in what sense Jews who never put their trust in Jesus were once 'in him', even if they once belonged to the vine of Israel before it was superseded by Jesus. But the latter view, that these dead braches are apostate Christians, must confront the strong evidence within John that true disciples are preserved to the end.
It is more satisfactory to recognize that asking the in me language to settle such disputes is to push the vine imagery too far.If Jesus' words on unfruitful branches can be dismissed as a narrative flourish, fair enough. But, they can't be. More on this to come from Ross, Ridderbos and Shepherd...