“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing. Anyone who who does not remain is thrown away like a branch—and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt”—John 15:5,6 NJB
Using figurative speech, Jesus made very clear that Christians must remain in Jesus, and not leave him. Just to be clear, a Christian could leave and return, like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). But what if a Christian leaves Jesus at some point and does not return to him? Then what? Does that mean that he “was never saved in the first place”, as “eternal security” believers claim? Is “Once Saved, Always Saved” (OSAS) a Biblical teaching?
Based on what Jesus said in John 15:5,6, and the following scripture, no:
“At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him” (John 6:66 NLT).
Did you notice that these were Jesus’ disciples? They were not just believers, they were Jesus’ disciples that actively followed him. The term “disciple” is not used lightly in the Scriptures. These were “saved” individuals. But they obviously were not “Once Saved, Always Saved”. They made a willful, conscious decision to leave Jesus. They had had enough. There are numerous other scriptures that debunk the false teaching of “Once Saved, Always Saved”. If fact, in John 15:4-10, Jesus used the word “remain” ten times to emphasize the necessity of staying with Jesus, not meaning literally, physically, of course, but staying focused on Jesus’ teachings, and by being obedient to his commandments (John 14:15). Let’s look at some other exhortation’s to “remain”.
“You must remain faithful to the things you have been taught”—1 Timothy 3:14 NLT
“You must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the son and with the Father”—1 John 2:24 NLT
“Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them”—1 John 3:24 NLT
If Christians were “Once Saved, Always Saved”, these exhortations would be unnecessary. In fact, they would be ridiculous. OSAS is both illogical and unscriptural. Once we’re saved, we must “remain” faithful in Christ, and not “draw back and perish” (Hebrews 10:39 NAB).