“And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says ‘I know Him’ but disobeys His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in Him: he who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” (1 John 2:3–6)
This phrase, “abides in Him,” means exactly the same thing as “fellowships with Him.” The Lord Jesus made that clear when He said, as is recorded in John’s gospel, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” (15:4). You can be in Christ, as a member of the vine, and bear only leaves. That is mere relationship. But if you want fruit in your life, there must be that further attitude of abiding in Him, resting in Him. That is what produces significant results in life.
The sign of abiding is to walk in the same way in which Christ walked. That does not mean to do the same things that Jesus did; that means to act from the same principle upon which He acted, to reflect the same kind of relationship to the Father that He had. That is the sign of fellowship.
What was the secret of our Lord’s power? That is what brought Nicodemus to Him by night: to try to ferret out the secret if he could. Many others came wondering what the secret of His power was. The amazing thing was that He kept telling people what it was. But we skip over it with easy disregard. He said, “the Son can do nothing by himself.” That is, “I’m not doing this; the Father who dwells in Me is doing it. I don’t speak these words of Myself, but I speak only that which I hear the Father say. It’s the Father who speaks the words; it’s the Father who does the work. I am a man, available to Him, but He is in Me, and His working in Me is the secret of the things that I do. I am simply counting on Him every minute to be at work and to do these things, and He does them” (cf. John 14:10–11).
That is the great secret, and that is one of the hardest things for Christians to learn. How did He walk? He walked in total, unrelenting, unbroken fellowship and dependence upon the activity of the Father who indwelt Him. But that seems so hard for us to learn. With us, it is the Son of God who lives within us, and He has come to reproduce the effect of His death and the power of His resurrection—to live again His life in us. But we have such difficulty with this. Our attitude is, “Please, Father, I’d rather do it myself!” We are brought up with the idea that we have in ourselves an ability to act significantly, that God is looking to us to act on His behalf, and if we fail Him, the whole program will fall apart, but if we do accomplish something for God, He should be eternally grateful to us for our faithfulness.
But this is not what a Christian is called to do. A quiet, unrelenting dependence upon an indwelling God to be always at work in us, reproducing the value of His death and the power of His resurrection—that is what Christianity is, that is what fellowship is, and that is what abiding in Him means.
Thank You, Lord, that You are making provision for me, filling me with Your very life. I pray that I may grasp this more and more and cooperate with You in it.
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