"Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe (do) all things whatsoever I (Jesus Christ) have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 2 Corinthians 7:1 ... dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God."
I am a retired pastor of
the Church of God (Tennessee).
My name is Isaac Livingston. I am from Neyyoor India.
This page editorial help: Bruce Newton, Fort Mill, SC.
Jesus Christ said in John 14:10&11, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." Jesus Christ said that he was in the Father and the Father was in him, while he was a man. This is called abiding. He has cited the words that he spoke and the works that he did as the proof for his abiding with the Father. Then he has said in John 15:9&10, "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." So, if we want to abide with God, the basic requirement is to keep his commandments. Those who do not obey his commandments but, instead, live in sin, cannot abide in his love or in him (i.e., cannot abide in God). But most Christians who do not obey his commandments say that Jesus Christ is in them and they are in Christ. It is nothing but a cliché that preachers have incorrectly taught them. Even though they do not intend to lie, they are incorrect; this is not how to abide in God.
1 John 2:24 "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life." Here, the 'that' refers to the teaching of the Apostle John which he taught to believers at the beginning of his ministry, which is the 'promise of eternal life'. He uses both phrases 'abide in you' and 'remain in you'. Both have similar meaning. John, however, says that if we hold on to the message that "God has promised us eternal life" we will also hold on to 'God the Son' and 'God the Father', who gave the message. So, we will be in God and we will be in his word as well. This is the terminology that we continue, or we abide, in God and in the word of God. That is, if we keep His word, God and His word become a part of us. Further, in John 6:63 Jesus Christ says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." That is, if Jesus Christ speaks (i.e., he imparts) his word to a person, he provides his word along with the spirit (holy spirit, spirit of man), whereby the spirit may guide the person to live by the word. In this case, the word is considered to have life. The word is spirit (i.e., it can live), and so the word can abide in the person. Further, Jesus Christ says in John 14: "15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 23... If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." So, if a person obeys his words or commandments; that is, if the word of God abides in him, then God (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost) will also come and abide in him/her. So, if the word of God abides in us in his fullness, then God will also abide in us.
Matthew 26:26"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Here, the bread is symbolic of his body, and the drink from the cup is symbolic of his blood. Eating and drinking these constitutes accepting the new covenant or testament. A covenant is a contract between God and man. So this ceremony is, in today's understanding, signing a contract with God. Repeated the same ceremony is a reminder of this contract. But, the important thing is to find what is in the contract. John 6:54 "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." Participating in this ceremony, which is the same as signing the contract, means two things. One is that Jesus gives them eternal life and will raise them up on the last day. The second is that Jesus and the participants will live inside each other, as one corporate person as Jesus and God the Father were One, while he was living as a man. 1 Corinthians 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." Communion means to share in each other and thereby become one. Here, Christ is shared with the participants and made one with the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, and in the process all the participants become one body. 1 Corinthians 11:24. "And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." We understand that this is a contract with God and it important, since it is about our eternal life on the basis of the humiliating death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Yet, we partake of it as a ceremony. To emphasize its importance, God gives us a severe warning that we must not take it as a mere ceremony, but as a sacred covenant. 2 Corinthians 5:14 "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The love of Christ is the driving force or power in this verse. Since he died for us, we will all consider that we are dead. And so, we must live as he lives in us, that is, we must live in his place, as he would live. So, from now on we are no more us (i.e., individual beings of flesh), but one corporate Spirit of Jesus, and we must live as he lived. It is important, therefore, that this contract be initiated as lifetime commitment, even though it may superficially appear to be a simple ceremony. As Jesus spoke these words, many of his disciples considered this as a hard statement. For us, even now, it is a very confusing statement. We know it is not cannibalism, but rather it is deeply symbolic. "Eating his flesh" represents his body coming into and dwelling within us, and "drinking his blood" represents his life coming into us. These words say that our relationship to him must duplicate his relationship with God the Father. This life will give us eternal life, which is to say that this life is eternal life that will be glorified and will continue through eternity. The proof is that we will live as Jesus Christ lived, because He will supernaturally live in us and we will live in Him. In doing this, others will notice His presence in our life. We will speak as Jesus Christ spoke and we will live lives that are pure and holy as He was pure and holy. This is what is meant by abiding in Jesus Christ. Abiding is not boastfully saying that "Jesus is in my heart" and "I am in Christ" while committing all kinds of sins, but it is living as he has lived.
Jesus Christ says, in John 15: "1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." So, God the Father is the gardener and Jesus Christ is the vine. "2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." The vine will bear fruit only through good branches. Here, fruit represents the life and doctrine of Jesus Christ. If we are the branches and do not live our lives in accordance with his life and doctrine, God the Father will remove us from the vine, and then we can not live like him afterward. If our life is not as good as his, that is if we live not by the same life and doctrine as he did, then God the Father removes the defective parts from our life to make us as pure as Jesus Christ is perfect. So, if we abide in Jesus, we will become more and more like him. "3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." How God does makes us pure? It is by teaching us the word of God.
John 14 verse 4 says: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me." Jesus Christ tells us to abide in him. So, it is our responsibility and we must strive to abide in him. As we strive, we will receive his power and grace so that we may grow to be more like him. "5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." The fruit we bear is the proof that we abide in him – more fruit indicates that we are becoming more like Him.
John 14 Verse 6 says: "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." If we are not abiding in Jesus Christ (that is, if we do not learn from him and do what he says), God will cast us away. As a result, we will be under the leadership of false preachers, and the final result will be hell fire. 7 "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." If, on the other hand, we abide in Christ - if we preach the word that Jesus Christ preached - then God will give us what we ask him. If Jesus Christ and his word abide in us, what we ask for will be in line we will not ask God for things we should not ask for.
John 14 Verse 8 says: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." Bearing much fruit is not for our glory; it is for the glory of God the Father. You will neither become famous, nor be highly regarded in any Christian denomination. John 15 says: "18) If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19) If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." If you bear much fruit; the same kind of fruit that was produced by Jesus Christ, the world will hate you. Note that the world admires famous preachers and evangelists. Their fame and fortune indicates they are not of God, and that God has removed them from the vine. The world will hate truthful preachers and true evangelists.
Most Christians today profess to have a ‘great desire’ to be in Christ. In practice, though, they don’t really want to live for Christ. To them, it would be good to pretend and act as though they are in Christ, so they can take advantage of the benefits this pretense affords. Preachers enjoy this; they are into it because such preaching is a populace and ‘trendy’; it makes them popular and will bring them easy money.
They quote Romans 8:1 which says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,". After quoting this, they tell their congregations that they are in Christ, and they make their congregations confess that they are also in Christ. It doesn’t require much effort on their part; it’s not hard, and it’s what their congregations want to hear. They welcome this message, accept this deception, then they get to enjoy their pet sins with pleasure since there is no condemnation. Hearing and believing this deception, though, does not exempt them from the truth. Butthen Romans 8:1 says: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." This verse says that those who are in Christ will not enjoy the pleasures of fleshly sins, but instead will follow the guidance of the spirit. To walk after the flesh means committing sin. Those who live in sin are NOT "in Christ."
Let me give you another example: Part of 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:" Again, preachers use this verse to show Christians that they are new creatures; that is, they are special people to God because they are in Christ Jesus. People rejoice, thinking that they are in Christ Jesus at the same time that they are immersed in all kinds of sins. But, the verse says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Here, the verse says that their sins will passed away. Further, they have been converted to be a New Creature (i.e., one which does not sin). But they’re still sinning, which proves they are not a new creature. They are still the same old filthy sinners as before. So the truth is that they are NOT "in Christ."
Preachers fake the abiding of God using clichés. Let us look at a few verses to avoid mistaking what the abiding of God truly means, without using clichés. 1 John 3 says: "6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." If anyone commits sin, he/she does not have the abiding of God.2 John 1:9 says: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." Those who have the doctrine of Jesus Christ have God the Son and the Father. 1 John 2:5 says: "But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." God abides in only those who keep his word. 1 John 2:6 says: "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." If we are to be truthful when we claim that God abides in us, we must walk as he walks. If we do not walk as he walks, there is no abiding. "14) ... I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." So, if the word of God abides in a person, he will live according to the word and he will overcome Satan.
Christians misunderstand what the works of the spirit are. They think that the emotions they feel during religious ceremonies, worship songs, Christian concerts, prayer meetings, etc., are evidence that the spirit is alive and moving in them. This is wrong - we do not induce or create the spirit. Emotions, including those which arise at religious events, are not the spirit; they are simply emotions. Christians get emotional, then label these emotions as the movement of the spirit within them. Emotion is neither the holy spirit, nor the Holy Ghost, even though conviction by the spirit may cause emotion. But, emotion is not spirit. The abiding of God will be manifest as pure holiness. Abiding of God will manifest pure holiness. But, Christians mistake human sympathy for the love of God, and mistakenly think that everybody is in Christ. It is a dangerous and widespread deception.
Romans 8:11 says: "-- if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." It is the Holy Ghost abiding in us that promises our rapture. 1 John 2:28 says: "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." If we abide in him, we will not be ashamed at his coming, but we will be glorified. The sinning Christians, on the other hand, will be ashamed and punished.
Jesus Christ prayed to God the Father inJohn 17, which says: "21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." Jesus prayed to the Father for the abiding of his disciples with God, to make them perfect. He prayed that the world would witness this and believe on him. "24) Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." So, the disciple will receive the same glory as Jesus Christ and they will be with him for eternity. This is the glory of the bride, the New Jerusalem in Sion. If we do not know what is meant by ‘abiding,’ we may never understand the eternal status of the 'glory of the bride'.
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