"I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit." (John 15:1-2 NET)

  • 1
    Please see the Tour and Help, below. The answer you have supplied (which you supplied at the same time as you asked the question) is not an hermeneutic answer, but merely quotes commentaries. I think you have misunderstood the purpose of Biblical Hermeneutics and misunderstood the question/answer form operated by Stack Exchange.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 4:00
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    The main question should be : what does 'fruit' mean in practical terms ? What does 'fruit' look like ? How do I know if I am 'fruitful' or not ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 4:03
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    The parable speaks more on the "bearing fruit & not bearing fruit" and the consequences thereof, so should we not? I can see your suggestions though have valid points in them, but not relevant to the question.
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 11:53
  • Define "christian" in your question.
    – user35953
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 16:17
  • In the text, Christian is a "branch in Me (Jesus)" and Father (God) expects fruits.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 17:42

8 Answers 8


John 15:2 - Will a Christian with no fruit lose their salvation?

"I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He takes away every branch that does not bear fruit in me. He prunes every branch that bears fruit so that it will bear more fruit." (John 15:1-2 NET)

Jesus Is the Vine—Followers Are Branches—The Father is the Vinedresser.

Jesus is "the true vine, and his Father, the vinedresser. After likening his disciples to "branches" of the vine, he urged them to remain in union with him. Just as branches of a literal vine must remain attached to the trunk in order to remain alive and fruitful, the disciples need to remain in union with Jesus to be spiritually alive and be productive.

Cultivating the fruit of the spirit contributes to your happiness now, and to your future salvation. (Matthew 5:3)

Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Love moves others to love you in return.

Joy gives you the strength to cope with challenges.

Peace helps you to keep your relationships free of strife.

Long-suffering enables you to stay happy even when you are under trial.

Gentleness draws others to you.

Goodness on your part makes others respond when you need help.

Faith will assure you of God’s loving direction.

Meekness will bring you calmness of heart, mind, and body.

Temperance or Self-control means that your mistakes will be fewer.

  • Mt. 5:3 seems not relevant to the discussion.
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 5:55
  • You have not commented on what is the significance of the "Father will cut off the branch not bearing fruit" in relation to one's salvation?
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 6:01
  • Sam King : ( Mt 5:3)For a literal vine to be productive it requires to be taken care of , it requires watering, fertilizer, pruning e.t.c. Likewise, a person must satisfy his spiritual needs to stay in union with Christ, and to be spiritually alive and productive. To manifest the qualities of "the fruitage of the spirit" (Gal 5:22-23) you need to have a regular and quality reading of the scriptures, This is why I quoted Mt 5:3 Commented May 2, 2020 at 9:16
  • Jesus describes this severe pruning: “If anyone does not remain in union with me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up; and men gather those branches up and pitch them into the fire and they are burned.” (John 15:6) No Salvation. Mt 3:10, Heb. 6:4-8 Commented May 2, 2020 at 9:16
  • The words in Mt. 3:10 & Heb 6:4-8, are speaking & pointing to what will be their final fate (people described in the verses) than temporary rebuke or passing "through the fire."
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 12:10

First, let us establish what "fruit" is. The Greek word is καρπός (karpos) which is used of literal fruit quite rarely (eg, Matt 7:17, James 5:7, 18, etc). It is mostly used metaphorically. Let me quote W E Vine (Expository Dictionary of NT Words):

works or deeds, fruit being the visible expression of power working inwardly and invisibly, the character of fruit being evidence of the character of the power producing it, Matt 7:16. As the visible expressions of hidden lusts are the works of the flesh, so the invisible power of the Holy Spirit in those who are brought into living union with Christ (John 15:2-8, 16) produces "the fruit of the Spirit", Gal 5:22, the singular form suggesting the unity of the character of the Lord as reproduced in them, namely "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance", all in contrast with the confused and often mutually antagonistic "works of the flesh".

However, there are more metaphorical uses of "fruit" than just fruit of the Spirit. Here are some more:

  • Converts as a result of outreach ministry, John 4:36, Rom 1:13, Phil 1:22
  • Spiritual growth through deliverance from a life of sin, Rom 6:22
  • The reward for being a servant of God, Phil 4:17
  • The effect of making confession of faith by the sacrifice of praise, Heb 13:15

Which is intended in Jesus' parable of the vine? Probably all of the above. With this understanding, the parable of Jesus about the vine (John 15:1-8) is simple to understand.

  • Christ is the vine and we are the branches (V5)
  • Those branches ("Christians") who do not bear "fruit" are pruned out and cut off from Christ (V2)
  • Such pruned branches are thrown into the fire and destroyed (V6)

The idea that some unfruitful Christians will be removed or shut out from Christ is often expressed in the Bible. In this parable Jesus tells us to "remain in me" (V7). Let me list other places where people can be lost at some point following their initial commitment to Christ:

  • The “wilderness generation” of Israelites that God called out of Egypt perished in the desert because, despite being called, turned their backs on God and refused to trust in God by believing the majority spy report.
  • At the end of the wilderness wandering, Joshua begged the people to choose to serve God, Josh 24:15, 22. See also Deut 30:19, Judg 5:8, Job 34:4, 33, 21, Ps 119:173, Prov 1:29, 3:31, Isa 7:15, 16, 56:4, 65:12, 66:3, Jer 8:3.
  • King Saul who was a statesman and prophet called by God (1 Sam 10:11, 12, 19:24), yet was ultimately lost when he consulted demons for advice and then committed suicide.
  • Ps 69:28 contains a plea for David’s enemies to be blotted out of the book of life!
  • Eze 18:21-28 also teaches that the wicked can reform and be saved, and the righteous can apostatise and be lost.
  • Rom 11:17-21 discusses the warning that people who had been grafted into the “olive tree” of the Christian community could be broken off if they were unfaithful.
  • 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
  • 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
  • Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
  • Heb 10:26, If we(!) deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
  • Heb 10:29, How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. This verse clearly shows that it is possible to be sanctified and subsequently lost.
  • Heb 10:35, Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward.
  • Heb 10:36, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised.
  • Heb 13:9, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace …”
  • 2 Peter 1:10, “make your calling and election sure”. This clearly allows for the possibility of losing one’s election.
  • 2 Peter 2:21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
  • 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.
  • 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
  • Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins contains two classes of people called “wise” and “foolish”. All were invited to the wedding; All were virgins symbolising purity, see Rev 14:5; All had lamps, ie, lights symbolising Christ as the light of the world, John 1:4, 9, 8:12, 9:5, Matt 5:14-16; All, at least initially had oil - but this is the crux of the parable - five virgins had enough oil and five did not have enough because they complained that their lamps were going out. In the NT oil represents the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, 2 Cor 1:21, 22, 1 John 2:20). Thus, Jesus teaches that some who are called and have been given the Holy Spirit (see also Heb 6:4-6) can still be excluded from the Kingdom of God.
  • Jesus’ parable of the vine (John 15:1-8) says two interesting things: (a) that branches (connected to the vine of Jesus) that do not bear fruit are cut off (v2); and (b) the bearing of fruit is to prove that we are Jesus’ disciples.
  • Jesus’ parable of the sower, or perhaps the parable of the soils (Matt 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15) contains several classes of people (soils) who start out well in the Christian life but lose their way. The conclusion is also significant: “by their constancy bear fruit”. (Luke 8:15)
  • Jesus’ parable of the banquet (Luke 14:16-24) contains a very good example of people rejecting the call (or “election”) of God as well as God having to ask some people more than once and begging them to the wedding banquet. Jesus’ conclusion is, again, significant, “not one of those men who have been invited shall taste of my banquet.”

Bearing fruit is not something that can be done the Christian's effort - it is a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit within us. See Eph 2:8-10. A very similar question is asked here >> Is eternal life only for overcomers?

  • Very much appreciated. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 12:26
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    Does not Christian's have to yield to the leading of the Spirit to bear fruits?
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 12:39
  • Quite right - completely agree @SamKim
    – Dottard
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 21:34
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    "Bearing fruit... is a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit within us." Amen to that.
    – Lesley
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 16:54

In your question you assume that salvation is something that one possesses and not a future event.

John 15:2 is a good example of one who is really "in" Christ who does not remain in him and so is cut off the vine and destroyed.

I make those points here.


The fruit in John 15 are converts. I chose you, and I set you that you should go forth and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you. 15:16. Often I purposed to come to you (yet was hindered until the present), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. Rm 1:13.

"Save" and "salvation" are not directly subjects (or words) in Jn 15. They're arrived at by the warning in 15:2, 6, especially by the words "fire" and "burned." But "fire" and "burned" here refer to discipline, not to eternal destiny. This is because the branches are "in Me." 15:2. To be "pruned" is a dealing by the Lord. A more severe one, in the nature of true loss, is to be "taken away." Neither equals eternal condemnation. If anyone's work is consumed, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him; for the temple of God is holy, and such are you. 1 Cor 3:15-17. (Cf Rv 2:11.)

Thus both Arminianism and Calvinism, from your Answer, are mistaken in this regard. They both miss the truth--they both miss the One they purport to talk about. You're correct that gospel fruit-bearing is important. It's the charge at the end of all four Gospels, and one of the things John is engaged in in writing this very book: Jn 20:23, 29, 31; 1:12; Lk 24:47; Mk 16:15-16; Mt 28:19-20. 28:19-20 and Jn 21:15-17 also touch on the subject of "remaining fruit." He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My lambs. He said to him again a second time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord, You know that I love You. He said to him, Shepherd My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me? Peter was grieved that He said to him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

  • V2, "he takes away (αἴρει - v-P.I.A.)) -αἴρω" (to raise, to take up, lift) in "indicative, active" -used to means "pulls away, tears away, taken away (i.e. Mt 9:16 -the patch pulls away from the garment; Mt 13:12; 21:43; Mk 4:15...), and together with in v6, "thrown out (ἐβλήθη ἔξω) "dried up", "they gather them and cast into fire and it is burned" refers more to the final fate than "just suffer the lose."
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 6:41
  • Why does it "refer more" so (to you)?
    – Walter S
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 1:35
  • Those specific words in v6, "thrown out (ἐβλήθη ἔξω)" "dried up", "they gather them and cast into fire and it is burned" are specific terms that refer to " final fate", the finality, not "suffer loss" in 1Cor 3:15.
    – Sam
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 5:22
  • There's finality of permanence in believing into Christ, Rm 10; so that although we need to finish the race, there's no possibility, and thus never a need, of having to start it all over, Heb 6. The specific words "branches in Me" in Jn 15, match "believers," "farm," "temple," and "builders upon the foundation" in 1 Cor 3 by Paul. Unless you want to imagine a difference? Our God is a consuming fire, Heb 12:29; Malachi 3:2; 1 Cor 3:13, 15. Whereas the lake of fire's work has no end, Rv 20:10; Isa 66:24. You and others here appear to make the second birth of John 3 Pelagianistic in some way.
    – Walter S
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 6:46
  • God did not change His mind and make Adam/Eve to eat the "fruit." But they made that ill-fated decision, it was an emotional decision, and caused own "fall," and Holy, Sovereign God's law of justice carried out. Likewise, yes, the "grafting" was permanent, yet as Gr. Gr. "μὴ" (not) in the "not bearing fruit" signifies, it was the subjective decision of the branch, against the will of the farmer, God. All prescriptive words of God in the Bible carry consequences!. Lets remember, God is Sovereign, He does according to His will, not to what we assume He will do or should do! He is God, not we!
    – Sam
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 6:51

This question sounds like "Can only those who are not bald participate in the haircut tournament?" and such a question is analytically self evident, for haircut tournament means that the bald cannot participate there in principle.

Similarly, "no fruit" means that a person is deprived of fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and in virtue of this depravation is unhappy and miserable, while Kingdom of Heaven is not for the unhappy and miserable, but of those who are happy through bearing those Divine Joy-Providing, i.e. Heavenly Kingdom-Providing fruits, for Heavenly Kingdom=Heavenly Joy and Peace in Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). To make it even clearer: the Heavenly Kingdom is not something adventitious that is vouchsafed to someone who bears fruits, but the very bearing of fruits of the Holy Spirit is the reality of the Heavenly Kingdom.

On the contrary, "every tree not bearing fruit will be cut and cast to fire" (Matthew 7:19), which means that such a "tree" cannot be a part of the "garden" in the Kingdom of Heaven.

  • "Fruit (καρπὸν)" in the parable that the Farmer expects in Gr. is "singular" and it refers, first and foremost, the fundamental change of quality (character): from a wild grape to "the heavenly grape of True Vine" -Christ likeness; old-self crucified, now "Christ lives in me." As this change progresses and more yielding in obedience to the Word and to the Spirit, more of the "fruit of the Spirit "-singular, yet has multi facet, i.e. love, joy, peace,etc (Gal 5:22-23) the branch will bear. Gr. "μὴ" (not) in the "not bearing fruit" signifies the subjective decision of the branch.
    – Sam
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 3:42
  • The only difference you put here is that I say "fruits" and you say "facets" of one fruit. I have no objection, since all those are divine energies that are different but come from the same Source. It is a linguistic difference of expressing one and the same reality. Commented May 3, 2020 at 5:08
  • Gal 5:22- "fruit -καρπὸς is in "singular", meaning the works of Holy Spirit manifests in 9 different virtues yet related all to one Spirit.
    – Sam
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 5:39
  • Yes, sure, no objection to that: one can say both: 1) Champion-making work of Mohammad Ali is brilliant movement, great jab, superb uppercut, clever manoeuvring, and 2) Champion-making works of Mohammad Ali are brilliant movement, etc. since all relate to one person, they either one says "works" or "work" the same obtains, for nowhere in my answer lurked any glimpse of an absurdity that I assumed several Holy Spirits with a proper workings to each of them. Commented May 3, 2020 at 7:33

The vine was always Israel, do a word search for VINE . The vine was uprooted from Egypt to the land of Israel. When Israel is referred to as the vine it is never good. Jesus says that he is the true vine, he is the Israel of God who will obey God the Father perfectly, the branches are Israel. There is no mention of the branches being grafted into the vine, so these branches grew with the vine. This passage of scripture is about Jesus and Israel not gentiles because gentiles are the body of christ and grafted into the olive tree. This passage is about Jewish disciples who stopped believing or stopped walking with him, Notice this passage is about the little flock Jesus is discoursing with his 11, he hasn't died yet and the holy spirit has not been given, gentiles are not granted repentance till Acts 10 and 11. This is not about gentile believers losing salvation at all. Its about unbelieving Israel's being cut off Romans 11:24 Read Ezekiel 15. There is so much in this passage to exegesis, Jesus tells them that they are clean through the word that I have spoken to you, Jesus in John 6 Jesus tells the 12 will you also leave Peter says you have the words of eternal life , John 8 he says my words do not abide in you. 1 Peter 2:3, Ephesians 5:26. Pray this helps God bless your studies

  • I think you need to provide some evidence for these assertions
    – Dottard
    Commented Oct 17, 2020 at 8:35
  • In the text John 15:2, it says, "I am the true vine" and that answers! Also, remember, here, "I am" is one of the seven "I am" statement Jesus refers to Himself.
    – Sam
    Commented Oct 18, 2020 at 17:48
  • Ezekiel 15 2 Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest? 3 Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon? 4 Behold, it is cast into the fire for fuel; the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the midst of it is burned. Is it meet for any work? note 5 Behold, when it was whole, it was meet for no work: how much less shall it be meet yet for any work, when the fire hath devoured it, and it Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:22
  • Read Ezekiel 15 the entire chapter Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:24
  • The fruit is to make desciples Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 0:30

I just want to focus in this comment on the correlation of the "fruit-bearing" and "salvation", which I believe is the important point Jesus wants to teach. And I am citing two theologians who see the correlation yet from different perspectives.

Calvin says in his commentary:

"Can anyone who is engrafted into Christ be without fruit? I answer, many are supposed to be in the vine, according to the opinion of men, who actually have no root in the vine. Thus, in the writings of the prophets, the Lord calls the people of Israel his vine, because, by outward profession, they had the name of The Church."

Armenian view: (I do not have the direct comment of Arminius)

"The doctrine of apostasy, in Arminian theology, primarily concerns an attempt at being faithful to God’s word. We refuse to deny what is rendered evident in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, warning believers about falling away (John 15:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Heb. 2:1, 2, 3; 3:12, 14; 4:1) -from "Jacob Arminius Refutes William Perkins on Perseverance" Sept. 3, 2015 (Society of Evangelica Arminians)


Calvinism: If one bears no fruit, never was saved. Armenians: If one bears no fruit, will lose salvation.

Both view the "fruit-bearing" has a crucial "bearing" on one's salvation yet reach entirely opposing conclusions.

My personal view is: proper exegesis will show in the parable that,

Jesus giving an exhortation to His disciples, branches that Father did the grafting, (to us as well) to remain in Him, the True Vine, (as stated in v 4,5,6,7,& 10)- that they may bear fruits that Father will not cut them off.

  • This is not an hermeneutic answer to the question.
    – Nigel J
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 4:01
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    Those commentaries quoted , I believe are of hermeneutic answeres of the two theologians, though different in conclusions. It should be oblivious only one of the two is right.
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 12:50

Context and more verses are needed. The branch that does not bear fruit "is thrown away and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned."

Is the branch that does not Bear Fruit a true Christian by definition? Someone who has been Filled with The Holy Spirit. Not at all.

The Branch that does not Bear Fruit is a Wolf in Sheep's clothing, the ones who stand before Christ and say "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness"

It's important to note that these people are not pretending to cast out Demons and Prophesy in Jesus's name, they really are doing it. These are people who have The Holy Spirit and were given authority by God to cast out Demons, Prophesy and do many mighty works, But they were not Filled with The Holy Spirit. Like those in The Old Testament, the Holy Spirit will come and go, but it is not Living in them.

Our Prime example is Judas who in Matthew 10:1-4 was given authority by Christ over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. But Yet in John 6:70 Judas is called a Devil by Jesus Himself.

So Christ gave a Devil The Authority to cast out a Demon, that is the definition of a Divided Kingdom that Will not stand. "And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end."

But once Satan's kingdom is fallen there will be no more use for those Devils, so they'll be thrown into the fire and Destroyed.

  • Does not the words, a wild branch (implied) grafted into the true vine (Jesus) by God, (the gardner) give the picture of the complete union of the branch & the tree? The use of Gr. μὴ (not) in "not bearing fruit" signifies the fault is with none other than the branch itself, and this will shed a new light on what Jesus really means "cut of....dried... throw into the fire.. to burn."
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 12:29
  • If a branch was in complete union with the tree then why would the gardener choose to cut it off? If the tree is trying to produce fruit through a branch and the branch won't produce any, the gardener would then cut it off so another can take it's place. So in effect the Branch that was cut off was never in union with The Tree, since it did not yield the fruit that The Tree commanded it to. Cutting the branch would be the idea of The Holy Spirit being removed due to it not living in The Person, "I Never Knew you" Knew here from what I've heard is a Spiritual Intimacy. (Becoming one) Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:09
  • It is natural that physical branch bears fruit when grafting is done. However, "human" branch though they are in union with Christ (grafted) has to yield to Him, and in obedience to His Word and to Holy Spirit, should continue walk the walk and live out the Word. Notice the Jesus' words that disciples to abide in Him and His Word to bear fruits pleasing to Father God.
    – Sam
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:24
  • this would fall into The Free Will debate? if weather or not someone can choose Christ or like How he says to The Disciples "You did not choose me but I choose you" but we would be here forever talking about that lol. The example of some1 from The OT that I would use who Had The Spirit then lost it was Saul, but it always was In God's will to replace Saul with David (since through David Jesus would come) wouldn't we see modern day examples like Saul with the Wolf in Sheep's clothing? They have the appearance of The Sheep, but they're not a true Sheep, because The Spirit does not live in them. Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:35
  • Jesus speaks in the parable of the responsibility of "branches," which the farmer (Father God) elected and grafted into the True Vine(Jesus), to remain in union with Jesus ( = He is you, I in you; My word abide in you, you keep my words, etc) and bear fruit to please the farmer (God, the Father). NT has two example, one, the "wolf in the sheep skin-you mentioned, and Paul to elders of Ephesus, on his way to Jerusalem, said " Even from among your own group men will arise, teaching perversions of the truth to draw the disciples away after them." (Acts 20:30, who were true sheep turn into bad.
    – Sam
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 1:48

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