What does it mean to ‘abide’ in Christ? To abide means: ‘to stay’ ‘dwell’ ‘remain’ or ‘not stray away.’ In the same way that a branch that grows away from the grapevine cannot bear any grapes, we cannot bear fruit unless we remain in Christ. If we look at how a grapevine grows and bears fruit, we understand why a branch apart from the vine is not able to produce fruit.
Without the vine, the branch could not bear fruit, let alone survive. But even branches that are still connected to the vine, but grow further away from their lifeline still struggle to receive the nutrients that they need to produce fruit. The branches that grow to the side or underneath the vine will have trouble getting the sunlight that they need and will not flourish. The healthiest branches are the ones closest to the vine or in our case Jesus.
So, what does it look like to abide in Christ? When we are abiding in Christ, we are trusting in Jesus while obeying Him and finding all we need in our Vine. Someone who is abiding in the Vine will stay attached to Him at all times, whether it is easy or difficult.
Jesus Invites You to Abide
In John’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples about this communion. He informs them that he has already made them clean (John 15:3), and has pronounced them clean during the upper room foot washing (John 13:10-11). This ceremony wasn’t pointing to Jesus’ hyper-aversion to dirty feet; it was a symbolic display of his incarnation, atoning sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension. This is why he declared them clean, with the exception of Judas (a clear indication dirty feet was not the idea).
Jesus says this hours before going to the cross to bear their sins and make them clean. So Jesus’ declaration in (John 15:3)is a statement of legal status.
He follows this with the command “abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). To “abide” is a verb. It is active. Abiding in Christ is not a feeling or a belief, but something we do. It means to “remain” or “stay” and entails far more than the idea of continued belief in the Savior.
(John 15:5)further illustrates this abiding relationship with a parallel relationship of a vine and a branch. We (the branches) are to be connected to him (the Vine) for our life and sustenance. Only in him can we bear fruit.
The Glory of God
Finally, the goal of abiding is the glory of God. (John 15:8) says, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” The whole design of our not being the vine, but being utterly dependent branches grafted into the vine, is to give glory to God.
The whole design of depending on a vinedresser to manage the outward shape of our vine structure and our branch structure is so that God gets the glory for bringing it all about. The bottom line is, hour by hour, let us receive and rest in and trust and savor and enjoy Christ’s word and love and joy while we submit externally to the merciful providences of God.
we to remain in Christ
Not only are we to remain in Christ, but He must remain in us. He cannot abide in us if we are not reading His Words and following His commands. The people who stay in Christ and keep Christ in themselves will bear the most fruit. We stay in Christ because we know that apart from Christ we can do nothing. When we stay in Christ, we can be nurtured and will eventually bear fruit. The only reason that the branch is even there is to produce fruit. That is our main job while we live on the Earth too- to produce fruit through our faith in Jesus Christ. Are you making sure that you stay with Christ and not grow apart from Him?