Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you….
1 John 2.24
I have heard Christians pray many, many times, “Lord, teach us to abide in you.” Jesus commanded us in John 15 to abide in him as the branches abide in the vine. But how do we do that? What does it mean to “abide” or as other versions put it, to “remain” in him? This seems to me to be a longing that all believers have—they want to know how they can abide in Christ.
John’s first letter really fleshes out what is involved in abiding in Christ, but I want to specifically point out what he says in 1 John 2.24 “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you.” The context of this statement is John’s warning that antichrists will come denying that Jesus is the Christ. In contrast to this, John says, the believers should continue in the truth about Jesus that had first been preached to them by the apostles: that Jesus is the Christ, who died, was buried, and then rose from the dead.
John is challenging the believers to abide, or “remain,” or “live in” the simple gospel that they had received in the beginning.
I don’t want to be reductionist and view the concept of abiding in Christ as only this one thing, but surely this is the foundation upon which the whole structure of “abiding in Christ” is built. It is by Jesus’ death and resurrection that we are “in Christ.” Therefore, everything else we do in the Christian life as we continue on in our relationship with Jesus is built on and connected to this gospel foundation.
So let us abide in Christ first by reminding ourselves constantly of this gospel foundation:
Jesus Christ died nailed to a Roman cross, was buried, and then three days later rose to life, never to die again, but ascended into heaven promising to return for his own. Even the calendar marks these events as the center of human history.
This is the gospel, and it is far more important than you probably realize. The gospel is not just the ticket that “got you in” to Christ, it is what sustains your life. You need the gospel like you need air to breathe. The gospel is your daily bread; you cannot live without it.
Because of a growing conviction that Christians need to understand better the centrality of the gospel to their relationship with Jesus, I have rethought the purpose of my blog. I am committing myself to a blog (with at least one post a week) that focuses on applying the gospel message to all of life. I hope to remind myself and anyone else interested in reading that to abide in Christ, I must start with the simple gospel
The gospel is found not just in a few chapters of the New Testament. It is the theme of the entire Bible. It is the duty and the delight of every Christian to seek for it every day as gold, and then to plumb its depths, to trust in it, live by it and to die clinging to it as his only hope.