Learning to Abide in Christ

By Vladimir Savchuk | September 28, 2022 | 8 mins

Learning to Abide in Christ

When people think about Christianity, they often think it has to do with people adjusting their life to have good behavior. They think that as long as they are a good person, they qualify as a Christian. But Christianity is not based on the behavior modification we can do, but instead, on the power of what Christ has done. That truth alone is what transforms us.

It’s interesting that the Bible mentions the word ‘Christian’ three times but mentions the phrase “in Christ” over 70 times. The word Christian is not God’s definition for you. God’s definition of a believer is someone who is “in Christ.”

When we first surrender our life to God, the Bible tells us that we get “in Christ,” and that is when our life changes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

After being saved, being in Christ is our new nature, and our life should be dedicated to getting to know Him. In doing so, we slowly become like Christ because His life is already within us.

God is not somebody I try to connect to but someone I live in.

That is why Paul’s revelation is so powerful. You can change everything about your life and apply good principles, but the core of who you are will never change until Jesus lives within you.

Out of Adam, Into Christ

As believers, we have the privilege to know Christ, not because we live near Him but because our life is within Him. I want to illustrate this point using this verse.

Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15

God did not create birds until He had created the air. He did not create fish before He created water, nor was man made before He created the earth and the garden. God always creates an environment and an element, and then He creates beings to live in them. The garden of Eden was more than just a beautiful orchard; it was a point of convergence between God’s spiritual and earthly family; so much so that at times, they overlapped.

In Genesis 3, did you ever notice that when the serpent talks to Eve, she doesn’t run? I think it wasn’t the first time Adam and Eve had encountered spiritual beings in the garden. Adam lived in the garden and enjoyed its benefits until sin and deception were introduced. It was at that point that they get kicked out of the garden and they were forced to have a family outside of the beauty of the garden. This meant that every descendant of Adam that followed was living outside of the element of God’s presence.

The proof of this is within each of us. We all have an inclination to do evil and immoral things, no matter how “good” we try and act. But because of God’s love toward us, His plan was to bring us back into His presence, which was no longer the garden, but Jesus Christ (John 15:1-6).

Before God can get you into Christ, He has to get you out of Adam.

It’s crucial as believers to understand that we cannot be in Jesus until we exit Adam.

We can’t do it on our own, so God sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins and pay the debt we had from Adam. On the cross, God takes the old nature that we inherited from Adam and crucifies it with Christ.

What Do the Crucifixion, Burial, and Resurrection Do?

We, by birth, have Adam’s nature and there is no way out of that reality unless life itself were to end. Therefore, it is only by death that we can be taken out of Adam.

Knowing this that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Romans 6:6

It’s thanks to Christ that we don’t have to physically die in order to be taken out of Adam. Instead, when we accept Christ, our old, Adamic nature is being crucified with Christ. And every dead person must be buried. That is why our baptism is so important.

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:4

Our baptism represents our Adamic nature being buried with Christ.

Some people got baptized into Christ without knowing that they died. And as a result, they are still living as though they are not dead.

When we understand that our old, sinful nature has died with Christ, our life naturally changes.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 1:3

In Jesus’ death, we have the privilege to die to our old race. And through the act of getting baptized, our old man is buried and can be left in the grave. And now, because Jesus rose from the grave, we too are able to rise into the newness of life that only Christ offers.

Because Jesus died, was buried, and has risen, we can have a new life.

The Gift of Christ

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30

It’s crucial to understand that when we receive Christ we aren’t just receiving salvation, but at the same time, a complete disconnection and severing of our old Adamic nature is taking place and as a result, we are being given a brand new life in Christ Himself.

Our goal is to get everybody from Adam into Christ.

This is the testimony, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

1 John 5:11-12

Notice that this verse does not say that “he who has the life has the Son.”

The Gospel is not about falling in love with the idea of escaping hell but falling in love with Jesus.

When you think of salvation as something that God gives you and you have to guard it like a possession, you will always live in fear of losing it. The gift of God is not just salvation; it is Jesus Himself.

The Gospel is God taking you from darkness and placing you into His Son. His Son is eternal life, wisdom, and love. He is not just a means to escape hell and go to Heaven.

In His Son, you bear fruit, talk to God, and draw near to Him. The Bible tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

And all anyone has to do to benefit from the blessings is to believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus is not a truth; He is the truth. Jesus is not just a teacher; He is God. God says He will credit that faith and account it to righteousness.

Think of it like this, let’s say you and I are like a lightbulb. A lightbulb has everything it needs to shine if only it is placed in the right socket. In Christ, we can do everything, but without Jesus, we can do nothing. God wants you to be in love with Jesus. Jesus, Himself tells us to abide in Him.

Are you?

Learning to Abide in Christ

Understanding that Jesus is not our supplement but our Source is vital to our existence. Without Jesus, we are nothing.

To abide in Jesus means to stay where we have been placed. Jesus does not tell us to struggle to get into Him but to simply remain in Him. As believers, we have already been placed in Christ, and by shifting our mindset to know that we are already in Him, we eliminate the unnecessary striving.

We don’t pray to get into Christ because we are already in Christ. And we are not praying to connect with God but from a connection that we already have in Him.

Prayer doesn’t draw us near to God; it simply makes us more aware of His nearness.

Prayer doesn’t bring you closer, Jesus does, and then you pray out of that closeness. Instead of praying for the Lord to help us live for Him, we should be praying: “Lord, live Your life through me.”

Everyone who abides, prays, but not everyone who prays, abides. Jesus warns us in John 15 that you can be attached as a branch, yet not abide in Christ and bear fruit.

If you feel like you are attached but have not been bearing fruit, there is hope in Christ. Jesus says come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

Jesus is not offering escapism but an entrance into a new family – the family of God. He wants you to experience freedom from the power of sin and a new life today.

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