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Friday, December 2, 2011

Abiding in Christ

Abiding in Christ

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11 (ESV)

ABIDE: meno (to stay)

Abiding in Christ's love means depending upon what Christ gives through His love, which includes His commandments.

When Jesus first sent His disciples out to go from town to town to heal and preach, He told them to find a "house of peace" and abide there, eating what they provide. They were not to go from house to house. (Luke 10:3-7)

Abiding in the same house is a good illustration of abiding in Christ's love. Abiding means accepting all that Christ has done for us and given us, with an attitude of thankfulness and dependence. Christ's commandments are given in love, and He promises joy in the abiding.

Abiding in Christ's love means the same as believing in Christ:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)

Not believing Christ means not obeying what He has said. Rather than abiding in Christ's love, the unbeliever abides in the wrath of God.

Abiding in Christ means a physical, emotional, and spiritual connection:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (ESV)

Abiding in Christ is much more than memorizing Scripture or associating with other people who revere or follow Christ. The illustration of a vine with many branches implies a complete connection with Christ, involving a parts of life. Without this complete connection, we can do nothing, including exist:

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:6 (ESV)

What are the commandments of Christ in which we are to abide? What has He said that we are to believe?

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12 (ESV)

All that Christ did for us, and still does, and all that Christ commanded, and still does command through His Spirit, can be summed up in the commandment to love one another.

Abiding in Christ's commandments means depending upon His love for us, and doing all that we do with the motive of love for others.

And joy is the reward.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11 (ESV)

Image courtesy of Roger Kirby, www.rkirby.com