…abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence
and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
I John 2:28
Christ is coming back one day. It may be today. It may be next week or next year. Nobody knows when. His coming from Heaven is as certain as His past ascension to Heaven (Acts 1:9-11). Though Christ’s return is certain, the responses of believers to His coming vary. For those who are ready, it brings comfort and promotes purity. For those unprepared it strikes fear and anxiety. John reminds us of how to live today in light of His certain and soon return.
The apostle reminds us first to “abide in Him” (I Jn. 2:28). We read of this same term earlier in response to being warned and ready for false teachers. In verse 24, we are told to allow God’s word to “abide.” We also read that we are to “abide in the Son and in the Father.” In verse 27 we “abide” in Him by the power of the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit who teaches us. So when John exhorts us to “abide in Him” we know this means we are to walk in the light of keeping God’s word, holding to the foundational truths of the faith, avoiding the deceptions of false teachers, and living lives which are true in the ways of the Lord–– these we can only accomplish in the power of an indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In this section where the word “abide” is so frequently used, its use is in the present tense. This use in the present tense implies that abiding is an ongoing activity, not a one-time event. We are to continually abide in Him. Jesus said (John 15:1-10):
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 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.
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. 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. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so that you will be My disciples.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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.”
Though the rains continue, we know Spring is just a short time away. Trees are beginning to bud, new branches will be evident. Orchards being pruned in anticipation of these fruit-producing branches– new growth is occurring in both subtle and soon colorful ways. Let it be a reminder of the joy of a life lived in the fruitful ways of our Lord, who loves you tremendously. Choose to allow your life be guided by His Word and the Holy Spirit abiding within you– being both pruned and fruitful in the One who went to the tree for us (I Pet.2:24).