But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:5-6)
In this letter, John has emphasized the need for his readers to abide in the Lord Jesus Christ. To abide in Jesus means to rest in, count on, and trust in His redeeming and transforming work, and His tremendous love for us.
Abiding in Christ portrays an intimate, close relationship, and not just a superficial acquaintance. In John 14:4-7, Jesus tells His disciples that having salvation is essential, using the picture of branches united to a vine. Because, without that vital union with Christ which salvation provides, there can be no life and there is no productivity. It means to obey Jesus, to evaluate all that we think, say and do. We are to obey only by faith, hope and love in Christ and to do nothing on the basis of anything else, especially not by our own guilt, fear and anxiety.
To abide in Jesus is to identify ourselves as children of God and to rely on this when in the future we see Him as He is. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)
It is by the hope in the God’s work in us that we hand over all our concerns, sins, anxieties, hopes, fears, etc. over to Him. We no longer act on these concerns, but on the truth, which is that our lives and our identities come only from the transforming power of our triune God. It is by placing ourselves in Him that we are purified and made whole. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:3)
Abiding in Jesus means confessing that we are sinners, that we are still imperfect and in need of His continuing work of restoration in us: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
It also means that we no longer believe that our identity is bound up in our sin. We have a new relationship with God and sin no longer rules us, because when we see sin in our lives we recognize a new desire to be healed from it rather than indulging in it. God is at work in us to help us see more and more clearly the fruitlessness, the destruction and the pain that comes from looking elsewhere for our identity and life.
Abiding in Jesus means seeing others as Jesus sees them, growing in our ability to not compare ourselves to others but to rejoice in others’ growth as much as in our own growth. It means that we are learning to love others “in deed and in truth,” rather than merely in “word or speech” (1 John 3:18)
When we choose to walk as Christ did, we must obey His teachings and follow His example of complete obedience to God that way we abide in Him and He in is. “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. (1 John 3:24)
Remember as we choose to abide in Him, He lives in us; so we have power over the enemy because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
When we choose to walk as Christ did, we must obey His teachings and follow His example of complete obedience to God that way we abide in Him and He in us.