What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?
To abide in Christ means we continue to “exist, dwell, rest, or stand firm” in Christ. It is a continual existence that shows we are firm and immovable.
In John 15, Jesus tells us the parable of the vinedresser, the vine and the branches.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” ~John 15:1-6 NASB
We see God the Father is the vinedresser, Jesus as the vine, and Believers as the branches. Jesus continues His explanation of abiding in Him.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also 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 so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” ~John 15:7-11 NASB
Faith Reason One – God, the Father
God, the Father, is the vinedresser or divine gardener. Just as grape growers “graft in” new rootstock to an already established healthy root system, similarly, God “grafts” us into Christ.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP
When we accept God’s love to us through the gift of His Son, Jesus, we become “grafted” into His family.
“God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].” ~1 John 4:8b-10 AMP
Faith Reason Two – Jesus Christ, the Son
Jesus Christ is the vine. He is the Living Word.
“In the beginning [before all-time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.” ~John 1:1 AMP
Healthy established vines have “new rootstock” grafted into them. The new branches are connected to the vine. The branches are not only connected to the vine, but they live off the vine. The vine is their very sustenance and nourishment.
If the branches are not connected to the vine, then there is no life and no fruit.
“Anyone who runs on ahead and does not remain in the doctrine of Christ [that is, one who is not content with what He taught], does not have God; but the one who continues to remain in the teaching [of Christ does have God], he has both the Father and the Son.” ~2 John 1:9 AMP
Abiding implies connection with Christ. We abide in Him and He abides in us implies mutual connectivity. Yet life comes from the vine to the branch, not from the branch to the vine. As Believers, we receive life from Christ, and because of Him, we can bear spiritual fruit. He is our very sustenance and nourishment. If we are not connected to Him, we remain fruitless.
“Jesus replied to them, ‘I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].’” ~John 6:35 AMP
“In the same way that we need physical bread for the nourishment of our bodies, Jesus Christ – the Bread of Life – is the constant nourishment of our souls. We live off of the forgiveness that was purchased by His shed blood, and it’s that forgiveness that leads to fruitfulness.” [AS]
All Believers can abide in Christ.
“Abiding in Christ is not a special level of Christian experience, available only to a few; rather, it is the position of all true believers. Biblically, “abiding in,” “remaining in,” and “knowing” Christ are references to the same thing: salvation. The Bible is clear that salvation comes by grace and is maintained by grace (Galatians 3:2-3).” [GQ]
Faith Reason Three – The Holy Spirit
Believers are the branches. When we are “grafted” into Christ, we gain our nourishment or life-source from Him.
“All Believers are connected with Christ, but all Believers can also know communion with Him in greater (or lesser) degrees. It’s not that some Christians abide and some don’t. If you believe in Jesus, you are in Him. You are united in Him. You are connected to the life-giving branch.” [BH]
We can abide in Christ through the Holy Spirit.
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor – Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (The Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].” ~John 16:7 AMP
“You can grow in this connection to Jesus. You can become more fruitful. There are degrees of fruitfulness. The passage [in John 15] speaks of bearing fruit, bearing “more fruit” (v. 2) and “much fruit” (v. 8).” [BH]
“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father – the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future].” ~John 16:13 AMP
“Finally, we are called, as part of the abiding process, to submit to the pruning knife of God in the providences by which He cuts away all disloyalty and sometimes all that is unimportant, in order that we might remain in Christ all the more wholeheartedly.” [SF]
Continue to Abide in Christ
We can continue to “exist, dwell, rest, or stand firm” in Christ because God, the Father, grafts us into His Son. When we are grafted into Christ, we are nourished and sustained through Him. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can abide in Christ and bear much fruit.
Ferguson, Sinclair. [SF] What Does It Mean to Abide in Christ? Published on Ligonier on March 6, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from What Does It Mean to Abide in Christ? (ligonier.org)
Hedges, Brian G. [BH] What Did Jesus Christ Mean When He Said “Abide in Me”? Published on Christianity on April 16, 2021. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from Abide in Me – Meaning of the Branch in John 15:4 (christianity.com)
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Sanchez, Adriel. [AS] What Does It Mean to Abide in Jesus? Published on Core Christianity on December 7, 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from What does it mean to abide in Jesus? | Core Christianity
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from Websters Dictionary 1828 – Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Abide
What Does It Mean to Abide in Christ? Published by God Questions [GQ]. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from What does it mean to abide in Christ? | GotQuestions.org
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