When Jesus abides

The gospel of John, the Johannine epistles and the book of Revelation claim John as their author. There is a question of whether it’s the same John writing or if it’s written in John’s name. That’s a common authorship discussion in Bible study. I don’t have any strong inclination either way. So, for me, John was a busy writer.

You’ll certainly find related themes throughout all the writings.

One of those themes is that of abiding in Christ. In John 15, Jesus said, “Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Revelation 3:20 is a familiar verse: Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

In those two verses, abiding in Christ offers fruit for our lives and fellowship with the Lord.

Our Bible passage today also offers a promise related to abiding in Christ. John says, “the anointing that you received from him (Jesus) abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you” (1 John 2:27). Read by itself that verse seems strange. Kept in its context, it is a repetition of what John has been saying all along.

Remember that 1 John is defending against heretical teachings that emerged from John’s congregation. A few verses before, John said, “you, however, have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (1 John 2:20). But that idea also goes back to a teaching of Jesus from the book of John. Jesus promised, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).

All that to say, abiding in Christ is an important idea for John. If I know that about John, so much of what he writes makes much more sense.

Dallas Willard once said, “In many cases, our need to wonder about or be told what God wants in a certain situation is nothing short of a clear indication of how little we are engaged in his work.” To me, that is a modern interpretation of what John talks about.

If we abide in Christ, Christ abides in us. That’s the promise. And if that’s true, we know what we need to know and are taught what we need to be taught. Now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for questions and learning. Quite the opposite!

But my teachers always knew when I hadn’t done my homework. They could tell by the kinds of questions I asked and the kinds of wrong answers I gave.

The same is true with our walk with God. There is a difference in our faith when we abide in Christ. It’s an important difference. It’s not a matter of superiority, mind you. Don’t ever revel in the idea you’re a better Christian than someone else–yes, I’ve heard it said before.

Christian pride is such an irony. That’s when the Christian abides more in himself than in Jesus.

When we abide in Christ, we aren’t concerned with comparing our lives to anyone else other than Christ. And as Christ abides in us, the Holy Spirit fills our faith with knowledge, boldness and peace. We have fellowship with the Lord.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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