In a discussion with a friend, the term abiding or to abide
came into the discussion. The discussion was about the Rapture and
who would be taken and if or who would be left. My friend brought
the subject of bearing fruit and this brought my thinking to John
15. In this chapter the word abide occurs no less than 15 times
in the first 10 verses, according A. Pink, a noted Bible Scholar.
This would seem to point out some importance in this word. Hence
this discussion, during which I am going to be quoting from A.H.
Pink's exposition of the Gospel of John. Much of my own thought
will also be mixed in. I will try to single out what is mine and
what comes from A.H. Pink .
To begin Pink quotes another in a very important area.
"Abide in Me and I in you" (15:4). These two things are
*quite distinct*, though closely connected. Just as it is
one thing to be "in Christ" and another to "abide in Him"
so there is a real difference between His being *in us*,
and His *abiding* in us. The one is a matter of His Grace
and the other of our responsibility .
This importance of receiving the grace to allow Him to abide in our
lives and spirit is made quite clear by our Lord in His statement:
"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abides in
the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me". We could very
easily look for a moment at our past resolutions and many attempts
which have failed and over such that we have become discouraged and
despondent. All of this is met by an announcement of the Word:
"I am the vine and you are the branches". Pink makes this so clear
when he states:
"The branch bears the clusters, but it does not produce them. It
bears what *the vine* produces, and so the result is expressed by
the Apostle, *"to me to live is Christ"*. It is important that in
this respect, as well as with reference to righteousness before
God, we should be brought to **the end of self** with all its vain
efforts and strivings."
How clear this is. That in our own self, with our
insufficiency admitted, we are no better than the branch
**severed** from the vine dry-dead.
Now we need to ask what is this abiding. It is a matter of a
complete form of communion with Christ. A communion based on
perfect fellowship with Christ. Don't let that word perfect scare
you and don't use it as an excuse. It means a complete fellowship.
Now here is where problems begin. Consider the words of John in
I John 1:6
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk
in darkness , we lie and do not practice the truth"
Darkness is willful sin. It stops the fellowship and communion and
abiding that has been spoken of. A continued practice of this sin
can cause the branch to be barren of fruit. Jesus Himself states
the effect of a lack of abiding when He said in John 15:6
"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
Notice the process. First, the loss of abiding. Second, the
period of drying up. Lastly, the awful result of burning.
Willful sin causes a lack of fellowship. Continuing in it or not
repenting and confessing it causes the drying up which results in
the final result of burning. The question we need to ask ourselves
is this. Are we abiding and bearing good fruit or are we severed
from the vine by acts of unconfessed sin or by a refusal to allow
Him to abide by giving up self and its desires?
In the study of abiding, still another point comes out. This
is brought out by the words of our Lord.
"Severed from me you can do nothing"
Pink again makes a very strong and related statement on this subject.
"Not only will the allowance of any known sin break our
fellowship with Him, but concentration on any thing
but Himself will also surely do it. "
What an exhortation to never never take our eyes or thoughts off
of Jesus. What an exhortation to, as Paul put it, "avoid the very
appearance of sin. satan is very subtle in his ways. If he
can get us occupied with ourselves, he can hinder our fruit-bearing
or damage our fruit. We must see the fact as put forth by this
statement of Rev Pink:
"Faith is nothing apart from its object and is no longer in
operation when it becomes occupied in itself. Love, too, is
in exercise only when it is occupied with its beloved. "There
is a disastrous delusion in this matter when under the plea
of witnessing for Christ and relating their experience,
men are tempted to parade their own attainments: their love,
joy and peace, their zeal in service, their victory in
conflict. And satan has no more effectual method of severing
the soul from Christ, and arresting the bringing forth of
fruit for the glory of God, than when he can persuade
Christians to feast upon their own fruit, instead of eating
the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man. But
shall we not bear witness of Christ ? Yes, truly, but let your
testimony be of Him and not of yourself" (Waymarks in the Wilderness)
Thousands of Christians are complaining of barrenness, but
they fail to trace their barrenness to its right source. The lack
of communion and fellowship with Christ. What caused this may be
sin or rebellion to His claims. In both cases the result
is the same barrenness.
How dangerous this barrenness is. And how important this
fellowship and communion is. For without it in a Christians
life the danger of being "cast forth" is always there.
"If any one of the branches,any believer continues out
of fellowship with Me, he is cast out. It could not be
said of anyone *who had never come* to Christ that he
does abide in Him. This is made more apparent by the
limitation in this very verse; "he is cast forth as
a ***branch***" (A.H. Pink)
More food for thought. More food for Prayer. Possible answers to
problems in the life of a Christian. Pray, Read, and be still and
listen for the ever small voice of the Holy Spirit.
< Author Unknown >