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"Abiding In Him."

In this brief article we will consider firstly the truth of abiding in Christ as the True Vine as it contrasts with our being in the Church the Body of Christ. The words of the Lord in John 15.4 are

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me."

From these words it will be clearly seen that to abide in Christ as the Vine implies effort and exercise on our part. We have something to do in order to retain our place as branches in the Vine. Whereas in the Vine we have responsibility, in the Church which is the Body of Christ we have no responsibility as to retaining our place and portion there. The Lord Jesus baptized us in one Spirit into that one Body the moment we placed faith in Him, and we were made to drink of one Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12.18).

Not only did He place us there in the Church the Body, but it is He who undertakes for us entirely as members of His Body, because He is Head of the Body, the Saviour of the Body, the Lover of the Body, the Sanctifier of the Body, the Glorifier of the Body, the Nourisher and Cherisher of the Body (Ephesians 5.28-29).

How much we owe to Him who having died for us and risen again now lives as the Head of His Church, for which He exercises such wondrous care! Because of this those who believe in Him shall never perish. A member cannot be severed from that Body. "No one shall snatch them out of My hand ... and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (John 10.28, 29), says the Lord Himself.

But in the Vine it is possible that branches may be taken away, or cast forth.

"Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh it away... If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15. 2, 6).

Many people err here not knowing the Scriptures, and think that these verses mean that if one fails to abide in the Vine that one will be lost for ever. Dear child of God, that is not so. The truth which we have drawn attention to in connexion with the Body of Christ, and the Lord's words in reference to eternal life, show the eternal security of the believer. "Never perish" ! How precious is this fact! But our life as a fruit bearer may be lost, and this is exactly what the Lord is setting forth in John 15.

May these lines cause you and me to be yet more concerned about "abiding in Him," that as branches- of the Vine we may bear fruit unto God.

How disappointing for God to come and find the branch without fruit! But on the other hand how delightful for Him to come and find ripe, sweet grapes!

"Every branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15.2).

There are many things which cause blight in plants, and the grower must use means to cleanse the plants or the fruit will be spoiled. So it is with the branches in the True Vine. As the fruit is forming and growing many things will spoil it unless they are kept down.

In Colossians 3. we are told to mortify (that is, put to death), our members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and coveteousness, which is idolatry (verse 5) and we have also to put away anger, malice, railing, shameful speaking and telling lies (verses 8, 9).

Already we are clean because of the word the Lord Jesus has spoken unto us (John 15.8), but we have to see to it that we keep ourselves clean by the use of God's word. In Psalm 119.9 the question is asked, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? " and the answer is given "By taking heed thereto according to Thy word."