“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning” (1 John 2:24, NKJV)
Abiding is significant in John’s writings. In his extensive record of Christ’s time with His disciples in the upper room on the night when Jesus was betrayed, John relates our Lord’s metaphor of the vine and the branches. Jesus was describing Himself as the vine and His disciples as the branches. Branches do not have life in themselves but only as they are connected to the vine.
After identifying Himself as the true vine, given by Father and distinguished from any other supposed sources of life, Jesus says this: “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’” (John 15:4–5).
Apart from Christ, we can do nothing. In Him, we can do all things. He is our source for life, vitality, maturity, and fruitfulness. Abiding in Him is essential for Christian life and living. Only through union with Christ will we produce fruit that is authentic, abounding, and lasting.
John picks up on this teaching in his first epistle. “Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24).
What have we heard from the beginning? We have heard that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we might have life in His name. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. This gospel that has been proclaimed has not changed and will not change. It will not be superseded or improved upon. The good news is perfect, complete, and final, or as John put it in his Gospel, “It is finished.”
If the word of life has found its way into our lives and taken up residence in our hearts by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, then our relationship with the triune God is inviolable and immutable.
And the result of union with Christ? Eternal life. Belief in the name of the Son of God carries with it the certainty and assurance of life now and into eternity.
This certainty is why John says he is writing to us. He does not want us to be misled. “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you” (1 John 2:26). Our enemy the devil and his instruments are constantly trying to woo us away from safety, security, and salvation to the rocks of ruin. John’s pastoral heart is concerned we abide and stand firm.
What teaching do you hear today that tries to get you to abandon Christ rather than abide in Him?