The Gospel of John: Abide.

“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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.” (John 15:1-4).

What does it mean to “abide in Christ?” The word “abide” (μείνατε; meinate) means to remain, to reside and to stay. Jesus commands His disciples to remain, reside and stay in Him. Fundamental in our understanding of remaining in Christ is the truth that we can only abide in Christ if we have first been joined to Christ by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. To remain in Christ means that salvation has already occurred in Christ.

I John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Therefore, it stands to reason that those who do not remain in Christ never belonged to Christ in the first place. They professed a love for Christ but they did not possess a love for Christ. They may have joined a church but they were not joined to Christ. They may have sung psalms, hymns and spiritual songs extolling Christ but they did not know the One about whom they sang. They may have partaken of the Lord’s Supper but they did not partake of the Lord of the Supper. The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is taught in today’s text.

Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “The ones who persevere are the same ones who are saved—not the ones whose love grows cold (Matthew 24:12). This does not suggest that our perseverance secures our salvation. Scripture everywhere teaches precisely the opposite: God, as part of his saving work, secures our perseverance. True believers “are being guarded through faith for a salvation” (I Peter 1:5). The guarantee of our perseverance is built into the New Covenant promise. God says: “I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). Those who do fall away from Christ give conclusive proof that they were never truly believers to begin with (I John 2:19).”

Dr. MacArthur continues by stating, “To say that God secures our perseverance is not to say that we are passive in the process, however. He keeps us “through faith” (I Peter 1:5)—our faith. Scripture sometimes calls us to hold fast to our faith (Hebrews 10:23; Revelation 3:11) or warns us against falling away (Hebrews 10:26-29). Such admonitions do not negate the many promises that true believers will persevere (John 10:28-29; Romans 8:38-39; I Corinthians 1:8-9; Philippians 1:6). Rather, the warnings and pleas are among the means God uses to secure our perseverance in the faith. Notice that the warnings and the promises often appear side by side. For example, when Jude urges believers, “keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21), he immediately points them to God, “who is able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24).”

We abide in Christ by remaining obedient to Christ. We remain obedient to Christ because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.

Romans 5:1-5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The believer can abide in Christ because Christ abides with the believer. Meditate upon the lyrics from Matt Redman’s song Abide With Me.

VERSE
I have a home
Eternal home
But for now I walk this broken world
You walked it first
You know our pain
But You show hope can rise again up from the grave

CHORUS
Abide with me
Abide with me
Don’t let me fall
And don’t let go
Walk with me
And never leave
Ever close God abide with me

VERSE
There in the night
Gethsemane
Before the cross
Before the nails
Overwhelmed
Alone You prayed
You met us in our suffering and bore our shame

BRIDGE
O love that will not ever let me go
Love that will not ever let me go
You never let me go
Love that will not ever let me go

VERSE
And up ahead
Eternity
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy
Abide with me
We’ll weep no more and sing for joy
Abide with me

Soli deo Gloria!

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