I’ve started studying John’s letters (1, 2, and 3 John) in my morning Bible study. The commentary I’ve been using (by John D. Hannah) is quite in-depth and, so far, I’m only up to chapter 2 verse 7! It always amazes me how reading God’s Word brings out verses and words we have encountered many times before with revelation of new or expanded meaning.
This happened for me with 1 John 2:6. Talking about our relationship with Christ, the NIV translates this verse as: “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did”. The ESV renders it “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked”.
Other translations render the expression as: remains in, and resides in. The author of my commentary focussed on the word ‘abide’.
The verse draws together and summarises John’s thought to this point (it is worthwhile reading the passage up to this verse). God the Father is life, Christ the Son is life revealed and purchased, and God the Spirit is life possessed! This is the teaching from the Apostles who saw, heard, spoke to and touched Jesus. Our duty is to emulate Jesus as revealed through His earthly ministry.
In 1 John, this word ‘abide’ is used some 24 times. Paul uses similar language with the concept ‘in Christ’. It means essentially ‘to remain’ or ‘to stay’. And this is a never ending reciprocal relationship. If we are serious about our Christian walk, our abiding is continuous, not something we do sometimes or when we feel like it.
This really struck me and challenged me, since I know that my walk with the Lord sometimes waxes and wanes. But God always keeps His promise by abiding with us through His Holy Spirit.
1 John teaches us this: If you want to abide in God…
· You need to make an active, firm commitment of faith, confessing that Jesus is the Son of God.
· You need to make an active, firm commitment to flee from sin and turn to Christ regularly.
· You must make an active, firm commitment to read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and allow it to affect every part of your life, standing firm in its truth.
· You must make an active, firm commitment to stand fast and persevere to the end.
May the God of Grace bless you and keep you.