Abiding in Christ

... The foundation of Jesus Christ is a living relationship in which every benefit belongs to Him, and we fully share in these benefits as a direct result of abiding in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20). In fact, all of Christi- anity can be summarized in three words: ‘In Christ Jesus’. But in what sense are we actually joined with the Lord? To find the answer, let’s look at what Paul had to say about life itself:

.... "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

(Galatians 2:20)

.... Life is as basic as it gets, and this passage is saying that we no longer live. But should we take this passage literally? That we no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in us? If so, then what happened to our lives?

.... "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

(Colossians 3:3)

.... To abide in Christ means there is an actual exchange of life between us, a joining of our lives with Him into one: "For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one." (Hebrews 2:11). Think of an earthly marriage in which the two become one flesh and you'll have something analogous (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31-32), for the Scriptures say that "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1 Corinthians 6:17). This is the very heart of our covenant with the Lord, and what it means to abide in Him.

.... For clarity's sake, let’s use another example to explain this further. Perhaps you've seen an old western movie in which a cowboy and an Indian come to respect each other, so they become blood brothers? To seal their covenant they slice open their thumbs or the palms of their hands, then hold the two open wounds together.

.... This ceremony is largely symbolic but it reflects a Biblical fact, that ‘the life of the body is in the blood’ (Leviticus 17:11). Therefore, as the blood of the first man flows into the veins of the other, to some extent his life is keeping the other man alive; and when the blood of the other flowed into the veins of the first, to some extent his life is keeping the first man alive. There is an exchange of life between them. Of course, the scope in this illustration is inadequate but it does convey the basic concept. There’s an exchange of life between ourselves and Jesus, and His own life is keeping us alive. That’s what it’s means to abide in Christ:

.... "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 15:5)

.... Therefore, when the Bible says ‘in Christ’, we should understand that it's talking about Him first and foremost, and then of us as we abide in Him. And when it speaks of ‘Christ in you’, it’s talking about our side of the same coin: a truth that has been applied to us through abiding in Him. We see both perspectives mentioned together in the quotation above.

.... So in our covenant with the Lord, we abide in Jesus and He in us; and if we are in Christ, it’s because Christ dwells in us. It is in this sense, in the exchange of spirit and life, that we are joined with Him.

To proceed to the next lesson, click here

Daily Bible Reading: John 1

8 Comments:

  • At the risk of ‘stealing thunder’ from a future lesson:

    What does it mean to have Christ living in me? "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

    The very fact that ‘Christ lives in me’ is an awesome and sobering thought. Not only does Christ live in us, He does more - He remakes us. 2 Corinthians 5:16 tells us,
    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

    Numerous passages tell us that ‘new creation’ is being transformed to the very image of Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (Romans 8:29; Romans 12:2)

    By Blogger Unchained Slave, at 8/03/2005 2:04 PM  

  • At the risk of sounding nit-picky, that's 2 Corinthians 5:17

    Good stuff otherwise, though :D

    By Blogger Gregory, at 8/03/2005 3:08 PM  

  • Loren your exposition and analogies are helpful to quieting my spirit unto proper obedience. Thank you this is helpful. i must remember that i am not my own but a slave of Him. Even the good pleasures in life can decieve me into believing this is not so. Pray for me to be a servant and to listen more that speak. God bless you. you are a good and mature believer.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/03/2005 5:19 PM  

  • Pray also that i will learn to not crush.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/03/2005 5:19 PM  

  • It is so tempting to crush

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/03/2005 5:20 PM  

  • Hi Dave,

    You've got the momentum in your comments. Abiding in Him ultimately means we will become more like Him -- just as a coupl that has been married for many years starts to think alike, even to the point of anticipating each other's thoughts. Feel free to run ahead if the Lord is leading you.

    By Blogger loren, at 8/03/2005 5:39 PM  

  • Hi Brian,

    Glad to pray for you at any time. And you;re exactly right, being a good servant starts with listening to the Lord. "My sheep know My voice."

    By Blogger loren, at 8/06/2005 6:40 PM  

  • """ To abide in Christ means there is an actual exchange of life between us, a joining of our lives with Him into one"""

    Amen!
    And what is true about His life is true about ours, thus we begin to manifest the divine attributes daily.

    By Blogger trent@ gracehead.com, at 10/12/2005 4:14 PM  

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