Abiding in Christ Jesus

In my experience, the phrase “abide in Christ” has turned into a catchphrase of sorts. It has lost its meaning through overuse combined with a lack of depth of understanding. Too often, phrases like this in Christianity lose their meaning. We say them, but when probed with how to actually apply them or with what they mean, often there is no answer.

What exactly does it mean to abide in Christ? What are the tangible fruits of such a thing? Let’s explore some of that today.

John chapter fifteen is the starting point to answer this question. The famous passage speaks of us as branches and Jesus as the vine. We are to abide in Him. Jesus says,

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that is not bearing fruit He is taking away: and every branch that is bearing fruit, He is pruning it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it should be abiding in the vine; no more can ye, except ye are abiding in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that is abiding in Me, and I in him, the same is bringing forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he has been cast forth as a branch, and has been withered; and men are gathering them, and casting them into the fire, and they are burning." [Jn 15:1-6]

We come to two main points through the first five verses about what it means to “abide in Jesus.” Two points, which come simply from apply the literal analogy Jesus gives.

  1. Receive all spiritual energy and life from Jesus
    • The branch receives all its nutrients from the vine. If the branch is cut off from the branch, obviously it no longer is joined to the system, and it withers up and dies. It is then burnt in the fire. That shouldn’t take much imagination. I’m sure we have all picked up twigs to kindle fire before.
    • So we must receive all our spiritual energy from Jesus. We must come to Him for sustenance: for food and for water. For His Word and for His Holy Spirit.
    • We must seek to be spiritually nourished/satisfied in Christ alone. That is, seek only Jesus. Seek to be filled by only Jesus; do not seek entertainment, do not seek worldly wealth, do not seek to please the flesh.
  2. Do all things through Jesus
    • The branch lives through the vine. The branch does not exist self sufficiently. Likewise, we live through faith in Jesus. Namely, we do not seek to fulfill our own desires, but we submit to the Vine, letting the Vine live through us and us through Him.
      • “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” [Gal 2:20]
      • “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth…” [Col 3:2-5]
      • “Always bearing about in the body the dying of The Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” [2 Cor 4:10-11]
    • To remain un-withered, we find also four things that are necessary. These come from Jeremiah 17 and Psalms 1.
      1. Trust in The LORD
      2. Hope in The LORD
      3. Delight in God’s word
      4. Meditate in God’s word day and nightç

Continuing on in John 15,

"If ye are abiding in me, and my spoken words are abiding in you, ask what ye will, and it shall come to pass. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye should bear much fruit; and ye should be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: abide ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." [Jn 15:7-13]
  1. Abide in Jesus’ spoken words
    • Spoken words (rhema, not logos) are words which The Holy Spirit provides us out of God’s logos for use in particular situations. It is of necessity then, that we know God’s word. Thus, to have Jesus’ spoken words abiding in us, we must have the word as a whole, the logos, abiding in us.
    • The application of this is to study Jesus’ words, The Bible. This is undoubtedly the most important aspect to abiding in Jesus for He is the Living Word.
  2. Abide in Jesus’ love
    • This involves three things.
      1. Keep Jesus’ commandments.
        • “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” [Jn 15:10]
        • To keep Jesus’ commandments is to love God and to love the brethren.
          • This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [Jn 15:12-13]
          • “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1 Jn 5:1-3]
      2. Be building ourselves up on our most holy faith
        • This is possible through God’s word of grace and through Jesus.
          • “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in The Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” [Jude 20-21]
          • “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus The Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” [Col 2:6-7]
          • “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up…” [Acts 20:32]
      3. Praying in The Holy Spirit
        • “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in The Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” [Jude 20-21]

CONCLUSION

To abide in Jesus is to eat and drink of Him, receiving all spiritual energy from His word and His Holy Spirit. It is to live by faith in Jesus, dying to self so that He might be manifest. It is to abide in the study of God’s word so that it can be later remembered and applied. It is to obey Jesus by loving the brethren. Wrap all of this in unceasing prayer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s