Abiding: Christ in You and You in Christ

What did Jesus intend us to understand when He invited us to abide Him? Jesus imperative exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, or an indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it involves specific truths that the Christian is to relationally experience if he is to experience Life As God Intended.

Jesus’ illustration of the “vine and the branch” (John 15) repetitively uses the word “abide” five times in the eight verses. When Jesus told His disciples, “Abide in Me,” this is the only imperative verb in the entire discourse, indicating that we Christians have a responsibility to respond to the provision of Christ and His abundant supply.

Remember that all imperatives in the new covenant are based on indicative verbs of God’s grace provision. Which means, Jesus is the dynamic of abiding as we shall see.

The concept of “Abiding in Christ” has often been misconstrued as, a personal performance-effort to hold on and “hang in there” to endure and survive the Christian life or as the life or death clinging to the edge by one’s fingertips to avoid falling into sin or “falling from grace.” On the other hand, some view “abiding” as just relaxing and “hanging out” in a hammock or sitting in a recliner with one’s feet up. We must be careful not to view “abiding” as an intense performance of survival, nor as pessimistic “do-nothingness.”

Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you.” (John 15:4) Without question one of the most remarkable Christian realities is that Jesus Christ Himself through the presence of the Holy Spirit will enter the human spirit, settle down and be at home there. Christ will make the human spirit (sometimes referred to as the heart) His abode. Our Lord said to His disciples, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23).

It is interesting that our Lord used the same word here that He gave them when he said, “I go to prepare a place for you…that where I am, you may be also.” Our Lord was promising his disciples that, just as He was going to heaven to prepare a place for them and would welcome them one day, now it would be possible for them to receive Him in their hearts, and He would come and make His abode with them. They could not understand this. How could it be? Then came Pentecost. The Spirit of the living Christ was given to the church, and they understood. God did not dwell in Herod’s temple in Jerusalem! God did not dwell in a temple made with hands; but now, through the miracle of the outpoured Spirit, God would dwell in human hearts (spirit). The body of the believer would be the temple of the living God and the human spirit would be the home of Jesus Christ. There is no higher privilege than to make Christ a home in your spirit, to welcome, to serve, to please, to fellowship with him there.

Jesus is talking about two abiding realities in John 15:4. Us “Abiding in Him, and He is abiding in us.” Jesus is saying, we must “abide In Him” and He must “Abide In us.” To be a man as God intended man to be, or as we like to say, to experience Life As God Intended. These are two distinct spiritual realities. There are Two major “In” phases in the New Testament. “Christ In you” and “You In Christ”
First, we must experience a new birth, “Christ In you” (Col, 1:26-27) (cf. II Cor. 13:5) Christ in you equals = location, the Spirit of Christ is in your spirit as a Christian. It is the location of Christ’s presence, which in turn determines a person’s identity.

Second, we must experience the outworking of His life. We are “In Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17) “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” which equals = “In Union with Christ” which = Identity.

Let us consider the first of these abiding realities. CHRIST IN YOU. The central and core reality that one must be aware of to call themselves a “Christian” is the indwelling presence of the living Lord Jesus in the form of the Spirit in one’s spirit. “Do you not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you,” (2 Cor. 13:5). Jesus was advising His disciples of this magnificent reality of the new covenant divine presence when they were together in the Upper Room (Jn. 14-17). Preparing for His death on the cross, His resurrection, ascension, and Pentecostal outpouring in Spirit-form, Jesus told His disciples, “I will not leave you alone as orphans, I will come to you (14:28); the Spirit will be with you and in you (14:17). Abide in Me and I in you (15:4). Jesus prayed to the Father that, “they may be one just as We are one; I in them and You in me; they may be perfected in unity” (John 17:22,23).

The new covenant reality of the indwelling presence of the living Jesus is the dynamic provision of God’s grace for all that He desires to be and do in us. His abiding presence is what makes us Christian – Christ-ones. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). Paul stated, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The ultimate question is, “Does JESUS live in you?” This is the abiding presence, and the reality of what it means to be Christian.

To be “In Christ” means to abide. Jesus commanded His disciples to “abide in Me, and I in you” (John 15:4). To “abide” is to remain where you are “in Him,” and to “stay put.” By God’s grace we are put “in Christ,” and we are to stay there, remain there, abide there. The English word “abode” refers to a dwelling place, such as a house where we live. Our abode is where we abide, Abiding carries the idea of responsibility to “stay put” to “remain” where Christ has placed us. The ongoing responsibility of the Christian to “abide” involves our residing, dwelling, living, and making our residence in the context of Christ’s activity.

We are to “abide in Him” (I John 2:28) “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” Practically speaking we make ourselves at home in our union relationship In Christ. Abide means to live in this place, we abide in an abode, which is our home and that is where we are to live. Stay put, remain. We live from our abiding place in Christ. Jesus says, you are to make your home in Me and I am going to make my home in you.

The spiritual reality of being “in Christ” is best understood as being “in union with Christ.” As expressed in I Cor. 6:17 – “the one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” When thinking of what it means to be “In Christ” read it like this, “If anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creature” (II Cor. 5:17). “By His doing you are in union with Christ Jesus” (I Cor. 1:30). “In union with Christ all will be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22). “We are created in union with Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. 2:10). “You are all one in union with Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

When Christians begin to understand their abiding reality “In Christ” and “Christ abiding In them” they will enjoy the fullness of their spiritual identity as Christ-ones, allowing the outlived life of Jesus Christ to be behaviorally manifest to the glory of God. Christians can then begin to behave like who they have become, and “settle in” to “rest” in His abiding presence, and their abiding in Him.

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

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