The Avenue of Abiding.

Grace is the bedrock that supports the abiding avenue upon which we are to travel in our spiritual journey of abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in us believers. If you shun the Grace Message or adhere to the "grace plus" or the "grace but" gospel you CANNOT ABIDE in the VINE (Jesus).

When serving God through religion, one of the least understood spiritual concepts for me was the concept of abiding in Christ and Him abiding in me. Yet it is the very substance of living as a loved child of God. Since my religious detoxing I am beginning to understand the concept better. Why was it so hard for me to understand?

One reason for my ignorance regarding "abiding" was due to the religious confusion that I was in and dominates the religious system.

Listening to religious "Christians" on the subject of abiding leads me to the conclusion that most of them are entrapped by religious confusion as well. Yet "abiding" is the essence of what it means to be a member of the community of the redeemed.

I found it hard to understand "abiding" because my living life as a believer was built on a system that has fostered opposition to it. Thus, my abiding in the vine had a valve mechanism that was shut off and prevented the life of the vine from flowing through me, the branch, because of my striving to measure up by obeying the rules of religion to be in God's favor.

Religion's idea of a committed believer is to search the Bible for ways to be obedient and in striving to do the doing they become "holy and blameless." They teach that DOING is the reason for BEING, the fact is that BEING is the reason for DOING. They understand that salvation is by Grace but, the maintaining (sanctification) of our relationship with God is our responsibility by doing what we should do and not doing what we should not do. We then are in good standing with God.

The Apostle Paul had no such dichotomy..."As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col. 2:6), and "But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, that, just as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"(1 Cor. 1:30,31)

This self-help religious system that makes up religion is a man-made, man-ordained and man-run" and though this "religion" has the appearance of wisdom it is a religion of folly. It is a way of attempting to eliminate sin by human effort and to own righteousness for ourselves. Paul writes that it is based on keeping rules, regulations and laws in order to become holy. It is a mentality that believes that exercising my will power to deny myself of what I want will result in purity. This system of trying to behave the Biblical way and denying the desires of the fleshly self is precisely the "self-made" sanctification method of of religion.

We do not comprehend "abiding" because our fleshly hearts does not want to. The premise of abiding is total dependence in Jesus and ZERO dependence in our abilities. Dependence on Jesus is the mortal enemy of self (our flesh). Our flesh screams out against dependence. We like the idea of improving ourselves "for" God. We are drawn to ways that increase our strength, wisdom and abilities "for" Him. This is why we can not relate to Paul when he says, "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10). We long for love, acceptance, value and identity; but we want it to be something we earn so we can deserve it. Abiding is not something we deserve or earn, it is a gift of God give through His grace. It is not of man, "lest any man should boast." All our Bible reading, all our praying, all our "church going", all our tithe paying, all our preaching...etc. will not sanctify us.

IT is impossible to understand the concept of abiding (let alone live in it) without understanding Grace, and until we are willing to recognize that living the life of a believer is not about getting better and better or working harder and harder we will never experience "abiding". As Christ said, "you must deny yourself". Living the Grace life is impossible in and of ourselves. We must understand that it is only Jesus abiding in us and giving us His Grace that we have the power live a believer's life.

Abiding is knowing that we are united with Christ. The old me has been crucified with Christ. We are a brand new creature. We are a son/daughter. The new me has been given an inheritance. We now have the riches of Christ. We are holy and blameless. We are seated in the heavenlies with Him. Abiding is about trusting and resting in the truth that Jesus is our "rightness" and He loves us immensely, not because of anything we might do, He loves us because His Grace has made us His loved child.

Abiding also has to do with this life of Christ within being expressed through you and experienced by you and the across-your-path people you meet. You are holy and loved; and Jesus wants this holiness and love to be shown through you. Jesus wants you to have the daily experience of love, joy and pure living. Abiding in Christ is about HIM living in you and through you. His Grace not only gives you a new identity but it also empowers you to experience this identity. This is what Paul was expressing when he wrote that He wants to present every man complete in Christ. He wants them to know and experience Jesus as their new life.

Abiding is allowing the resources of Someone else to be yours. It is living a life dependent on a Source other than you. It is believing that your identity does not come from your behavior but from Christ who is in you. It is believing the fact that Jesus has already done all that needed to be done. Abiding is a recognition that what gives you the ability to live the grace life, is the life of Someone else...Jesus.

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