What did Jesus mean by His words “abide in me”?

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Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).

The meaning of the phrase “abide in me”

A constant abiding in Christ means to have a living relationship with Him. This is a vital element in the spiritual growth and fruitfulness of the believer. Occasional focus on spiritual matters is not enough (Hebrews 10:22).

To abide in Christ means that a person must be in daily connection with Jesus Christ and must live His life (Gal. 2:20). It is not probable for one branch to depend upon another for its liveliness; each must maintain its own personal connection with the vine. Each member must bring its own fruits (Matthew 3:8).

God gives the grace to abide in Him

It is impossible for a person in his own power to escape from the hole of sin into which he has fallen and to bring forth fruits of righteousness. Paul writes, that “The carnal mind … is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).  Wherever men hold to the idea that they can save themselves by their own deeds they have no protection from sin (John 15:5b).

The erroneous belief that, “once in grace always in grace,” is denied by the teaching of the need to abide. The Bible teaches that it is possible for those who have been in Christ to cut their connection with Him and be lost (Heb. 6:4–6.) Thus, salvation is conditional upon abiding in Christ till the end (Hebrews 10:23, 24, 26).

The Christian symbolized as a branch

The Christian signified by the cut branch may show a form of religion, but the inner power of conversion in his life is lacking (2 Tim. 3:5). When tests and trials come, his superficial experience is revealed (Matthew 13:21).

As the cut branches get collected and burned, so the unfruitful Christian will suffer ultimate destruction at the end of time (Matt. 10:28; 13:38–40; 25:41, 46). Those who abandoned the Lord were excluded from the kingdom for not living the Christian life.

As men abide in Christ, Christ dwells in their hearts and they become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Their minds become obedient to the will of God (1 John 5:14). People receive Christ by receiving His word. As they daily feed upon that Word (John 6:53), it will enlighten the mind and they will be able to walk in obedience to it principles through the enabling power of Christ (Col. 1:27).

The result will be that the believers will bear fruits. Thus, glory comes to God when His image is reflected in the lives of His followers (2 Corinthians 3:18). And the character of God will be vindicated when the believers through God’s grace, become partakers of the divine nature (John 13:35).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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