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The Classical Greek writers used the word meno meaning, "to stay,” “stand fast,” “remain” or “abide.”  It has the idea to remain at home, or stay where you are and not wander off.

The word translated "abide" is one of the Apostle John's favorite words. He uses it 34 times in the Gospel, and 19 times in his letters. The word meno means to dwell at ones' own house, to stay as a guest in someone’s home, to abide or to sustain unbroken fellowship with someone. To have a friend who abides is to always be present to help you in time of need.

The apostle John uses it to say God "abides" (meno) in Christ. He dwells in Him and therefore has a constant influence upon him. The divine presence is continually operative in Him. Jesus said, "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me . . .The Father, who remains (meno) in Me, does His own work" (John 14:10). In John 10:38 Jesus said, "the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."  

How does Jesus accomplish what He does? His answer was, "the Father abiding in Me does His work." Jesus is the one person who was completely at the disposal of the Father. He told His disciples, "Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me. . ." (v. 11). Jesus made Himself available to the Father.

The evidence of "I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me" was His perfect character. Jesus was different and you could see the difference in His behavior. He spoke what the Father told Him to say (14:10; cf. 7:16; 12:49-50; 14:24). Jesus not only said what the Father told Him to say, but everything He did was the Father's working in and through Him. "The Father abiding in  Me does His works" (v.10). "The Father living in Me . . . is doing His work" and the evidence is what you see.

In John 14:20, Jesus took the idea of relationship one-step further when He spoke of the Holy Spirit and the believer. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you will behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. In  that day you shall know that I am in My father, and you in Me, and I in you" (John 14:18-20).

When Jesus said that believers "abide" in God, it pictures a relationship bound to Him by the Holy Spirit whom they received when they believed on Christ. The idea is to remain in vital union with God or in Christ. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life.

In the First Epistle of John, the apostle says this vital union of remaining in Christ will make a difference in our behavior. The one who says he abides (remains or resides) in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. Meno indicates a close, intimate and permanent relationship between the believer and God (1 John 2:6, 24, 27; 3:6).

Furthermore, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than  these he will do; because I go to the Father" (14:12). "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (vv. 13-15).

Jesus is not speaking of fantastic spectacular miracles, but the preaching of the Gospel. The "greater works" is the taking the good news of Jesus Christ and His saving work to the ends of the earth and seeing a great harvest of souls. The preaching on the Day of Pentecost is an excellent example of these “greater works.” When we serve Him according to His will He will answer our prayers, and we can see Him do great and mighty things in and through us.

He wants us to make ourselves available to Him even as He made Himself available to His Father. We are to ask what Jesus would ask the Father. We have the Holy Spirit abiding in us to guide us. The limitations on the prayer promise is the intimate union and harmony with Christ that nothing will be asked out of accordance to His will.

The apostle John says in this vital union with Christ, Christ or God abides (meno) in the believer (John 6:56; 15:4). It is an intimate, personal relationship with Him, for Jesus says He lives in us. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides (meno) in Me and I in him" (6:56). We appropriate that abiding relationship by faith. Jesus said, "I live in them." He occupies a place in us as His dwelling place. It is a permanent relationship with my soul and exerts its power and authority over my life. The abiding presence of Christ in the believer is His permanent residence in Him and His supplying that is necessary to produce fruit in his life. Again, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the spirit of Christ refer to the same person.

John 15:4, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me." The Vine is our positional source. "Keep on abiding in Me." Jesus is emphasizing the permanence of position such as maintaining unbroken communion and fellowship with the person in whom He dwells. He is saying: "Remain united with Me." “Remain in unbroken fellowship with Me.” “Remain in vital union with Me.”

The point Jesus is making is for the believer to maintain unbroken fellowship with Christ. The believer has now made his spiritual residence in Christ. His abiding place is in Christ Jesus. The house has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Nothing now stands between the believer and Christ.  It is a holy fellowship. There is no better analogy than the vine and its branches. The believer draws his spiritual life and energy from the indwelling One.

We abide in Christ and He in us when we enter into a personal relationship by putting our trust in Him as our Savior. Have you appropriated Him into your personal life? (6:54-58) Are you continuing to persevere in His teachings? (8:31; 1 John 2:19, 24). Are you obeying His commandments? (15:9-10) We cannot produce spiritual fruit that will bring glory to God without a continual abiding in Him. We cannot produce God's kind of fruit without the life of God within us. The remaining in Him produces fruit. 

Abiding Principles and Practical Applications

1. When God invites us to come and join Him in what He is doing, it is an invitation to an intimate personal relationship with Him. We are to Him as a branch is to its vine. If we are to bear His kind of fruit it must be in relationship to Him. We can do nothing apart from drawing our strength from Him (John 15:5).

2. When we produce quality spiritual fruit, it depends entirely on the life of Christ being reproduced in the believer. There are no short cuts to fruit (Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 12:11). The "fruit" Jesus is expecting are deeds of love that demonstrate our relationship to God. Jesus does not expect works from us to earn God's favor, but evidences of life in the branches.

3. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" "No one," thunders the apostle Paul in Romans 8:35-39. Our abiding in Christ does not depend upon us, but on making ourselves available to Him. The Holy Spirit abides in the believer forever (John 14:16). The issue in chapter fifteen is on our relationship to God in bearing fruit. Salvation is not the subject.

4. If we are abiding in Christ, we will have a rich prayer life that supplies rich fellowship with Him (14:13-14; 15:7, 16).

5. When we walk like Christ, we will always abide near Christ. The nearness of Christ always invites us to come and enter into unbroken fellowship with Him. That which makes a man "holy" is the perpetual abiding of the Holy Spirit within him. We become like those with whom we associate.

6. To abide in continual dependence upon Christ is to keep yourself in the position of child-like-trust and dependence upon Him.

7. Jesus said He could do nothing on His own; therefore we can do nothing on our own. Everything about abiding means we must remain united with Him just as the Son remains united with the Father.

Key Scriptures

John 6:54-58; 15:4-10, 16; 8:31; 14:10-14, 18-20; 1 John 2:6, 19, 24; 4:12, 15; Romans 8:35-39


For Further Study

You in Me and I in You 
John 15:1-6 Life in the Vine 
John 14:12-15 Alive in Christ 
Jesus the True Vine  John 15:1-11  
Galatians  2:20 Our Vital Union in Christ 
Abiding in the Holy Spirit   John 15:26-27  

Abide in the Holy Spirit 
Abiding in Christ 
Living the Christian Life 
Fellowship of the Holy Spirit 
Psalm 91:1 Secure Shelter in the Storms of Life 
Appropriating Christ Daily
Faith and the Bible
Our Supreme Passion





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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