9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:9–11, NKJV)
Jesus continued His final discourse with His apostles before being arrested, tried, and crucified. He had loved His apostles while with them, and He wanted them to abide in (stay in) His love. He had just said, “Abide in Me, and I in you,” which would occur when His words remained in them (Jno. 15:4, 7). They would bear much fruit by doing so (Jno. 15:8). In today’s passage, Jesus elaborated that they would abide in His love by keeping His commandments (v. 10). He had set this example for them (and us) by keeping His Father’s commandments and abiding in His love. Their joy would be full when they obeyed Jesus. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus coupled love and joy with obedience? Those who discount and disconnect obedience from salvation refuse to see this linkage. Obeying Jesus is not a way we earn blessings. It is the divine condition under which God gives heavenly blessings (Acts 10:34-35). Our faith in Jesus and His word convinces us to love Him by obeying Him. We rejoice in His promised love and presence with a joy that remains and reaches into eternity.
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” (1 John 2:28, NKJV)
The Christian’s confidence of eternal salvation in Christ is not over “when we first believed” (Rom. 13:11). Confidence or boldness before Christ when He returns will happen if we “abide in Him.” To abide means to continue, to dwell, to remain. The verb “abide” is written in present tense, active voice, and imperative mood. That means we are commanded to abide; it is not a suggestion. It means every Christian is the subject of the command, and that abiding in Christ is presently taking place. Being a Christian is a daily decision and daily action of continuing to be faithful to Christ. We must continue to live in Christ to have bold assurance before Him at this coming. Scripture says, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). And again, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Heb. 3:14). Do not only begin to be a Christian, but also continue to be faithful to Christ every day. Abide in Christ now, and you will have bold confidence in Him at His coming. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12; Matt. 10:32-33).
6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. (1 John 3:6–7, NKJV)
Is John saying that Christians never commit a sin? If so, then he contradicts himself earlier in this epistle when he wrote, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). The Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself with double talk. The key to understanding today’s passage is the word “practices” in verse 7. On the one hand, the apostle is describing one who practices sin as the course or habit of his life (verse 6), while on the other hand describing one who practices (has the habit of) righteousness (verse 7). God’s will is that “you may not sin” (1 John 2:1). God wants us to sin less and less. To deny sin’s reality is a lie. To practice sin is unrighteousness. When we confess our sins we are assured of forgiveness and cleansing because we have “an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 1:9; 2:1). By doing so we walk in the light – establish the habit of practicing righteousness – and are “righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 1:7-9; 3:7). As Jesus put it, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:5–7, NKJV)
Jesus is the source of all spiritual life. By abiding in Christ, we are a “branch” that bears much fruit. But, we are spiritually barren and dead – lost – when we do not abide in Him. Obviously, Jesus did not teach universal salvation. Verse 6 clearly states the condition upon which one will be cast into the fire and burned; “if anyone does not abide in Me.” Therefore, we must abide in Christ to avoid being lost. What does it mean to abide in Christ? Verse 7 helps our understanding. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you” – one who lives according to the words of Christ is the disciple who abides in Christ (see John 14:21, 23). Christians put the word of Christ into their hearts and by obeying Him, bear much fruit. If you do not follow His word, then you are not a fruitful branch. Your spiritual life depends upon abiding in Christ, the Giver of Life. Without abiding in Christ – following His word – you will be gathered up and burned like a lifeless, barren branch.
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31–32)
The words of Jesus could not be more plain. Believers who abide in His word are truly His disciples. (We correctly deduce that believers who do not abide in His word are not truly disciples.) Furthermore, disciples who abide in His word shall “know the truth” and by the truth, be made free from sin. How very different this is from many who think any kind of belief is enough to please Jesus, make them a Christian and free them from sin. How very different this is from those who say truth is not absolute, definite or knowable with certainty. Jesus calls on us to believe Him and to continue in His word by knowing and following the truth. The word of Christ is the Christian’s place of residency. We live by His word, and although we are in this world, we are not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven. Discipleship is our calling; We learn and we live the word of Jesus, the New Testament of Christ. Knowledge of the truth is our expectation, for we cannot continue in what we do not know. And, freedom from sin is our blessing from the Son, who makes us free indeed (Jno. 8:36). Saving faith learns, obeys and continues in the truth of Jesus.
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1, NKJV)
We infer from the psalmist’s questions that not everyone dwells in the presence of the Lord. Furthermore, by merely asking, David acknowledges that it is God Himself who supplies the correct answer concerning who communes with Him. Man does not answer these questions for the Holy One of Israel. As we travel through life the Lord opens His tent to particular sojourners who meet His conditions, allowing them into His presence and offering them rest, refreshment and fellowship. God’s holy hill pictures the reigning Sovereign where He grants blessedness to all who wait before Him. Do you want the communion, rest and protection of God’s presence as you travel through life? If so, give ear to the inspired answers to David’s questions in the remainder of Psalm 15. We will look at those answers in the days ahead.
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 9, ESV)
Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (Jno. 8:31). The apostle John reiterates this truth in today’s verse. We cannot go beyond what the teaching of Christ says without forfeiting fellowship with God. The reason is clear: God’s word is truth (Jno. 17:17). God does not sanction error, which is a lie against the truth (and God cannot lie, Titus 1:2). Jesus promises He and the Father will “make our home” with the person who loves Him and keeps His word (Jno. 14:23). John’s statement agrees with this. If you truly want to have a relationship with Jesus, then love Him, keep His word and do not go beyond it. Live by faith according to His truth, and Christ will live in you (Eph. 3:17).
4 “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. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4–5, NKJV)
Abiding in Christ day by day requires a deliberate faith that keeps the word of Christ. Jesus had just explained, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (Jno. 14:23). By an obedient faith you will have a fruitful relationship with Jesus, the “true vine” (Jno. 15:1). But, if you choose to disobey Christ you will not abide in Him. A faithless, fruitless life leads to eternal ruin: “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (Jno. 15:6). Having a relationship with Jesus means more than saying you have one; it means bearing the fruit of that relationship by your daily, obedient faith.