Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me (John 15:4).
Abiding in Christ is not, as some have urged, the practice of the presence of Christ. Attempting to maintain a constant awareness of the real presence of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit (even though this is, indeed, a true Biblical doctrine) can easily become a burden instead of a blessing, emphasizing introspective feelings rather than unselfish service.
The word abide actually is the same as endure, or remain, or continue, and is often so translated. In the first 16 verses of John 15, it occurs no less than 12 times. In fact, this word (Greek, meno) is used in Johns gospel more than 35 timesfar more than in any other book. The beloved disciple thus repeatedly emphasizes the importance of steadfastness in ones Christian faith and testimony.
This, then, is the proper meaning of the doctrine of abiding in Christ. The Lord urges us to continue, to endure, to remain, in our faith in Christ and His word. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, Christ said (John 8:31). It was necessary for Him to emphasize steadfastness, because, as He went on to say, . . . the world hateth you (John 15:19). Despite all such inducements to waver, we must abide!
Furthermore, such continuance in Him and His word would be necessary to assure answered prayer (John 15:7) and spiritual fruit. As our text warns, a branch which does not remain on the vine cannot bear fruit. The fruit also will remain (same word as abide) if it is fruit produced by a branch truly abiding (i.e., enduring) in the vine. As the Lord Jesus said in concluding this particular theme of abiding and fruit-bearing: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain (John 15:16). HMM