Abiding in Christ – A Wonderful Life!
Abiding in Christ – A Wonderful Life!

Abiding in Christ – A Wonderful Life!

Abiding in Christ – A Wonderful Life!

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

John 15:1

John 15:1-8 is about “abiding in the Vine.” The Vine is Jesus! This passage of Scripture unfolds some beautiful truths and promises for the child of God, such as “bearing much fruit” (John 15:5); being “pruned” to produce more fruit (John 15:2-3); the power of prayer and God’s Word (John 15:7); and becoming true disciples of Christ (John 15:8).

We often hear about “Christ in us,” but here in John 15, Jesus talks about us being “in Him.” So, for the born-again child of God, there exists this beautiful “paradox” – a “double-sided” truth: Christ in us and us in Christ.

The Process.

To fully understand and appreciate this truth of“Abiding in the Vine,” there is a vitally important key handed to us in Romans 11:17-25 which explains that we are NOT naturally a part of that “Vine.” Instead, we are “wild branches” which can only be part of that “Vine” by the process of “grafting.” Biblically, this “grafting” is a supernatural experience (a “birth” – John 3:3) that happens when we first believe, confess our faith, and receive Jesus as our Savior (James 1:18,21; Romans 10:9-13). 

Jesus’ analogy about “abiding” in Him is beautifully unwrapped as we better understand the precious process of grafting:

(1) The Vine

A healthy and flourishing vine must first be found. Jesus says that the Father is the Vinedresser (or “gardener”). The Father selected Jesus as the One and Only perfect Vine – He was tested and tempted and overcame sin (Rom 8:3; Heb 2:17-18; Heb 4:15), and now He boldly declares, “I am the Vine!”

(2) The Branch.

A “wild branch” that could only produce wild fruit (according to Rom 11) is selected to be grafted into the Vine. This happens when we first hear and are sincerely convicted in our hearts by the Gospel message.

(3) The 1st Cut.

The Vinedresser makes a deeply angled (<) cut into the Vine so that sap is freely flowing. This is precisely what the Father did to Jesus on the Cross for our sakes. Look how Isaiah prophesied 700+ years previously, perfectly describing Christ’s crucifixion:

“…yet we ourselves esteemed Him [Jesus] stricken, smitten of God [the Father], and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities…
But the Lord [the Father] was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering…”

Isaiah 53:4-10
(4) The 2nd Cut.

The “wild branch” (that’s us!) must also be cut at an equal and opposite angle (<) that fully matches the deep gash made into the Vine, and the sap of that branch must be freely flowing. This “gash” can only be made with the quick and sharp two-edged “sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17), the Bible, which only the Holy Spirit knows how to use to bring deep conviction of “sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:7-13). [Note: We, the wild branches, could NEVER graft ourselves into the Vine. Only the Father, the “Vinedresser,” can do that with branches that surrender to His loving hand. Salvation is only and always by grace and never, ever by works! – Eph 2:8-9.]

(5) The Connection.

While the “sap” is still fresh, the Vinedresser then carefully places the cut and bleeding wild branch into the wounded and bleeding Vine (<<). When the fit is just right, the Vinedresser then uses a temporary cloth adhesive tape to bind the wild branch tightly into the Vine until the two grow together. Then, little by little, the sweet, wonderful, life-sap of the Vine begins to flow into and REPLACE the old life of the wild branch until that branch produces fruit just like the Vine! No struggling!

The wild branch can boldly say: “I am IN the Vine, and the Vine is IN me!” If it continues to abide in the Vine, then it will soon begin to bear excellent fruit – the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22-24), which will give witness to others of the truth of that experience! It sound similar to Paul’s declaration:

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

Sanctification: Out with the Old, In with the New

This process of replacing the “old sap” of the wild branch with the “new sap” of the Vine is described in this verse:

Therefore, if anyone is IN Christ, he is [becoming] a new creation; old things have passed [and are passing] away; behold, all things have become [and are becoming] new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

The “old” being replaced by the “new” is also a work of grace occurring in Water Baptism:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in NEWNESS of life…
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Romans 6:4,6

This “replacement process,” which continues within the wild branch, is what the Bible refers to as “sanctification” – a transformation (metamorphosis) from “glory to glory” into the “image” and character of Christ:

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through SANCTIFICATION by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NKJV)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being TRANSFORMED [metamorphosis] into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)

Taught to Abide.

We have seen how the Father is the “Vinedresser” and Jesus is the “Vine.” But is the Holy Spirit also involved with our abiding in Christ? Oh yes!

First of all, as we have seen, the cutting is made by the sharp, two-edged sword of God’s Word in the Hands of the Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is at work from the very beginning. But once the grafting is finalized, that is when the Holy Spirit really begins the work He was sent to do!

It must be understood that “abiding in Christ” is a very intimate experience of faith, trust, obedience, and surrender on a moment-by-moment basis. Bible teaching can instruct us about what it is and give us Scriptural examples, but no man could ever individually teach us how to personally abide in Christ.

In much the same way, no man can teach us how to love others. We can and must learn about God’s kind of love. We can and must receive teaching about what the Scriptures reveal about loving others. But only God can teach us individually how that teaching works in and through our lives in the daily grind. Instruction on love without knowing how to apply it practically would only produce Pharisaical Christians. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor 8:1-3).That is where we need the Spirit to instruct and guide us in a way no man could do. This is what Paul said to one church:

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren…

1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

A perfectly balanced Biblical analogy of this unique paradox is unfolded in the book of Esther where we see Mordecai diligently teaching and instructing Esther (Esther 2:10-11). What did he tell her to do? He surely taught her to listen to Hegai’s every suggestion and even his whispers! Why? Because Hegai knew the king well, and could instruct Esther on precisely what to wear and how to walk and talk to be able to win the king’s heart. Esther wisely obeyed:

When the turn came for Esther (the young woman Mordecai had adopted, the daughter of his uncle Abihail) to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her.

Esther 2:15 (NIV)

The result? Esther willingly received Mordecai’s instruction and listened carefully to Hegai’s every suggestion, and guess what? She became the king’s wife!

We, too, want to win Jesus’ heart to be His bride at His soon coming. We need all the instruction and teaching we can get from pastors and teachers within the Body of Christ. That is exactly how God designed the Body (1 Cor 12:18-28). Yet, only the Holy Spirit, who knows the heart of Jesus, could ever teach each of us on a moment-by-moment, personal and practical basis. In referring to being ready for the Rapture by abiding in Christ, John clearly explains this truth:

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and JUST AS IT HAS TAUGHT YOU, YOU WILL ABIDE IN HIM.
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 2:27-28 (NKJV)

The End Goal: Perfect in Christ.

Finally, we must understand just how important this “abiding in the Vine” truly is. Everything God purposes to perform and accomplish in our lives can only occur when we are abiding in Christ. Paul tells the Colossians that Christ IN them is the “hope of glory” – the glorious work God will do within them. Then he continues to explain that his ministry goal was to “present every man perfect IN Christ Jesus:

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ IN you, the hope of glory:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect IN Christ Jesus:
Whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Colossians 1:27-29 (KJV)

How deeply grateful we should be that Father has grafted us into Christ the Vine.
And how thankful we should be that Jesus was wounded and pierced on the Cross that we might be grafted into Him.
And why, then, would we ever struggle to produce our own fruitfulness when all we need to do is abide in the Vine and let Christ’s life replace ours so that we can “bear much fruit”?
And, oh what a joy to know that the indwelling Holy Spirit will be our personal Helper and Guide, teaching and tutoring us in all things on how to continue abiding in the “Vine” until God’s work is perfected in us and Jesus returns to catch His Bride away!

Grafted into Jesus our Vine. Simply abiding in Him every moment of every day with the Holy Spirit instructing us.
Wow, what a wonderful life! Who could ask for more?

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