Abide in Christ?

July 9, 2021 at 9:02 AM 1 comment

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I recall years ago reading books by Andrew Murray, who often emphasized the biblical concept of abiding in Christ. I’ve written briefly about Murray and others of his theological persuasion in an article about the Keswick Movement.

A difficult aspect of Andrew Murray was the way he constantly emphasized the Christians’ need to “abide in Christ.” However, he never really explained it in practical terms, as far as I recall. This is a biblical concept from the Bible in words uttered by Jesus in John 15:7.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 

Obviously, our Lord was using a figure of speech. We cannot actually be physically inside Jesus, nor is He literally a vine or plant. Like everything in Scripture, there is a context. This section of Scripture begins with verse 1 of John 15 where Jesus reveals the truth that He is the Vine and it is from Him that all nourishment comes to us, if we are “in” Him and remain “in” Him. You’ll likely recall that John 14 is where Jesus announces that He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him, the Son (John 14:6).

After stating that no one can go to the Father unless they go through the salvific work of Jesus in John 14, Jesus next emphasized the need to continue abiding in Him. If we abide in Him, we will “bear much fruit,” (John 15:5). Conversely, those who fail to remain abiding will not only not bear fruit, but they will soon “die” and become good for nothing and might as well be tossed out or burned. Instead of abiding in Christ, they have chosen to ignore Him, doing their own thing instead, living by and for Self.

There are generally three trains of thought here as to what is meant by this passage. Some believe Jesus is saying that salvation can be lost if we are not careful to continue abiding. They argue that if we stop abiding in Jesus, we will experience separation from Jesus that can lead to loss of salvation.

Others believe that there are those who truly will fall away (stop abiding), and those who do were not really saved in the first place. They see those individuals as merely ones who professed to have had salvation but did not really possess it at all.

The third group, of which I am one, see this “abiding” as something that is the constant choice of the authentic Christian. We either choose to abide or not, depending upon choices we make every day. The reference that Jesus uses about the branches that no longer abides and are good for nothing but to be gathered and cast in the fire is not a reference to hell. In my view, Jesus is simply taking it to its logical conclusion that those who decide to not continue abiding will live lives that are essentially worthless. They produce no good works, neither do they glorify God in thought, word or deed. Because of that, their lives are no better than the pruned branch that is gathered and burned. That Christian can, at any point, decide to once again, abide in Christ (like the Prodigal Son who always remained his father’s son, Luke 15). It is a willful decision. I don’t believe Jesus is teaching that salvation can be lost because that is not supported by the entirety of Scripture.

Andrew Murray tended to use the word “abide” or “abiding” in the definition he provided, simply repeating that we must “abide” in Him. That’s all well and good, but what does it mean? I could never find a straight answer and was cause for frustration. Murray would relegate abiding to the realm of our feelings and/or emotions. This was given as the result of “abiding” in Christ; because it would activate our emotional response to God and tends to cause people to use emotions as a guide. However, Murray never clearly told people how to abide in Christ.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that what Jesus meant by abiding in Him appears so far removed from what Andrew Murray and other Christian mystics like him proposed. I’d like to hopefully and clearly explain what I believe the Bible means by abiding in Jesus.

Abiding in Christ, put simply, means to be in fellowship with Jesus. If we borrow from Proverbs 14:26-27 that we went over in our previous article, the writer there describes “abiding” as living “In the fear of the Lord…” If we live so that we are fearful of offending the Lord in all things, we will abide in fellowship and friendship with Him. It is giving into sin that stops us from living in the fear of offending the Lord and breaks our fellowship with Him. When we break off fellowship with Jesus, we have not lost our salvation (because salvation is permanent, John 10:28-29 and salvation puts us “in Christ,” Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17). However, we stop actively abiding. This situation will last for as long as it takes us to admit we have sinned, confess that sin and be warmly received back into fellowship again with a waiting Jesus.

By way of example, in our human relationships, we experience fellowship with other people as long as we are not on the “outs” with them. If something happens that causes a fracture in the relationship, the result is broken fellowship with them. If that continues, the relationship suffers. However, if we humble ourselves, move back toward the person we are estranged from and try to work things out so that there is forgiveness, the relationship is restored and we enter back into fellowship with them. We are once again “abiding” in relationship with them.

Abiding in Christ is, in fact, the natural result of receiving salvation. To continue abiding in Christ, effort on our part must be made, just as effort is needed in our human relationships. It’s not difficult to get to know other human beings, is it? We learn quickly if that other person is a “right” fit for us as far as friendship or even romance. If not, we might let it go or walk away. However, the person you choose to spend your life with in monogamous marriage is a person with whom you have decided is well worth knowing and for a lifetime. Because of this, you likely work on making that relationship work, don’t you? You try to do things you know they like and how do you know what those things are? By talking, watching, understanding them. You don’t deliberately do the things they don’t like, do you? I hope not.

But what of our relationship with the Lord? How do we abide in Him? It’s really the same way. We talk, watch, and understand what He wants from us. How do we do that? By reading, studying and memorizing His Word. There is no other way, though to hear some tell it, they have these long, drawn out conversations with Him and allegedly, He responds to them as one person would respond to another. Those people should be avoided completely (Jude 1:8, 10-13).

Human relationships tend to be somewhat easier than our relationship with the Lord. That’s because we pray and don’t audibly hear anything back (again, the people who say they DO hear back should be avoided!). So much of the time, we may feel as if we are talking to the air – does He really hear? How do I know or learn what the Lord’s will is in each specific case? How can I be sure?

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All of these questions are answered in His Word and like any relationship, it takes time to develop insight into what the Lord wants and expects from us. If we never read His Word, how will we know even the basics? A desire to want to increase and improve our relationship with Jesus will create the desire to read His Word more. Reading His Word – studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it and even praying it – brings us into abiding with Him. It allows His Spirit to “speak” to us through His written Word.

Jesus said abiding in Him is much like a branch (the Christian), connected to the main vine or plant (Him). That branch can only grow and prosper as it remains connected to the vine. It is through the vine’s roots that each branch gains sustenance and grows, eventually, blooming and producing good fruit. That branch, connected to the main vine can only produce good fruit. The branch that discontinues abiding in the vine will produce nothing good and dies. This refers to spiritual death for the Christian who discontinues abiding in Christ. What is the most relevant need today is for Christians to remain abiding (in constant fellowship), with our Lord.

Look at what’s happening throughout the world. The USA is being systematically destroyed with lies, aggression, fascism and lawlessness, all based on Marxism (here are several past messages I produced on aspects of Marxism). The destruction is coming from Congress and many aspects of our government, as well as average people. Marxism is simply designed to overthrow societies. Here is a message I preached way back in August 2013 regarding Critical Race Theory’s Racism. It’s more meaningful today because of what’s happening.

Marxism is used to create major division between races of a society, to ultimately overturn that society. Lawlessness is often the direct vehicle and once the division becomes large enough, a total breakdown of that society will be the result.

If we consider in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that denying same-sex marriage was essentially unconstitutional, same-sex marriage became the law of the land. Historically, every society that legalized same-sex unions eventually collapsed. The USA is on the verge of that. Roughly six years after that landmark ruling, it is no longer just about homosexual unions. It is now about transgenderism, drag queens and pedophilia; issues that are diametrically opposed to God’s created order. How can any society survive when it so blatantly rejects God’s rule? It can’t.

But for the Christian, what is our demeanor and attitude supposed to be as things resolutely move toward God’s coming judgment? We are not to fear the problems of this world, especially considering the fact that God has forewarned us that these problems would occur toward the end of the age, eventually giving birth to the final kingdom of Daniel 2. Satan will rule this final kingdom through his spiritual son, Antichrist. In spite of what is coming though, God promises a place of refuge for those who abide in Him.

Abiding in Jesus should be the directed goal of every Christian. This should be our top priority in daily living. Only as we learn to grow in our fear of offending the Lord will we become more securely anchored in abiding in Jesus. The world and its hate, ugliness and sin won’t matter. Our eyes will be on the prize. We will live to glorify God and He will strengthen us to withstand the assaults of the enemy. We will be surefooted as we go through life, but only as we ensure that we are abiding in Him.

Now, more than ever, Christians need to be abiding in Christ.

Entry filed under: 9/11, Agenda 21, alienology, Atheism and religion, christianity, Communism, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Cultural Marxism, Demonic, Eastern Mysticism, Emotional virtue, eternity, Global Elite, Gun Control, new age movement, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming, Shadow Government, Socialism, Transhumanism, Trilateral Commission, ufology. Tags: , , .

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