ABIDE IN CHRIST, CHAPTER 1: ALL YOU WHO HAVE COME TO HIM
“Come unto me.”–MATT.11:28
“Abide in me.”–JOHN 15:4
IT IS to you who have heard and responded to Jesus’ call, “Come unto me,” that this new invitation comes: “Abide in me.” The message comes from the same loving Savior. Doubtless, you have never regretted having come to Him when He called you.. You experienced that His word was truth; He fulfilled all His promises; He made you a partaker of the blessings and the joy of His love. Wasn’t His welcome most heart-felt, His pardon full and free, and His love most sweet and precious? When you first came to Him, you more than once had reason to say, “The half was not told to me.”
And yet since then, you have had to complain of disappointment; as time went on, your expectations were not brought to completion; the feeling of the blessings you once enjoyed were lost. The love and joy of your first meeting with the Savior, instead of deepening, has become faint and feeble. And you have often wondered, that with such a Savior so mighty and so loving, why your experience of salvation was not more complete.
The answer is very simple. You wandered from Him. The blessings He bestows are all connected with His invitation, “Come to Me,” and they can only be enjoyed in close fellowship with Him.
You either didn’t fully understand, or did not remember well, that the invitation meant, “Come to me to stay with me.”And yet this was most certainly His goal and purpose when first He called you to Himself. It was not to refresh you for a few short hours after your new birth with the joy of His love and deliverance, and then to send you forth to wander in sadness and sin. He had destined you to something better than a short-lived blessedness, which would be enjoyed only in times of special earnestness and prayer, and then to pass away as when you had to return to those normal earthly duties of life. No, indeed not. He had prepared for you an abiding dwelling with Himself, where your whole life and every moment of it might be spent, where the work of your daily life might be done, and where all the while you could be enjoying unbroken communion with Himself.
He meant exactly this when He said, “Come to me,” and then said, “Abide in me.” Christ was earnest and faithful, loving and tender, as He compassionately spoke for you to “Come.” Just as much so was the grace that added this blessed invitation to “Abide.” That first invitation drew you with a mighty attraction. The ropes of God’s love would have kept you just as strongly, had you but listened to Christ’s second invitation to “Abide.” The blessings when you first came were great — so large, yes, and much greater, are the treasures to which the abiding would have given you access.
And observe especially, it was not that He said, “Come to me and abide with me,” but, “Abide in me.” The interaction was to be unbroken, and incredibly close and complete. He opened His arms, to hold you closely; He opened His heart, to welcome you there; He opened up all His divine fulness of life and love, and offered to take you up into its fellowship and sharing, to make you completely one with Himself. There was a depth of meaning you cannot yet understand in His words: “Abide IN ME.”
With earnestness Christ had cried, “Come to me.” He plead with the same earnestness, “Abide in me.” If only you had noticed it! By every motive that had persuaded you to come to Him, He begged you to abide. Was it the fear of sin and its curse that first drew you to Christ? the pardon you received on first coming (with all the blessings flowing from it) could only be confirmed and fully enjoyed by abiding in Him.
Was it the longing to know and enjoy the Infinite Love that was calling you? the first coming gave but single drops to taste– it is only staying with Him that can really satisfy the thirsty soul, and let you drink of the rivers of pleasure that are at His right hand.
Was it the weary longing to be made free from the bondage of sin, to become pure and holy, and so to find rest, the rest of God for the soul? this too can only be realized as you stay in Him–only abiding in Jesus gives rest in Him.
Or if it was the hope of an inheritance in glory, and an everlasting home in the presence of the Infinite One: well, the true preparation for this (as well as its blessed foretaste in this life), are granted only to those who abide in Him.
In very truth, everything that moved you to come to Him, pleads with thousandfold greater force: “Abide in Him.” You did well to come; you do better to abide. After a person had sought for the King’s palace, who would be content to stand in the door, when he is invited in to dwell in the King’s presence, and share with Him in all the glory of His royal life? Oh, let us enter in and abide, and enjoy to the full all the rich supply His wondrous love has prepared for us!
And yet I fear that there are many who have indeed come to Jesus, and who yet have to sadly confess that they know only a little of this blessed abiding in Him. With some the reason is that they never fully understood that this was the meaning of the Savior’s call. With others, the reason is that though they heard the word, they did not know that such a life of abiding fellowship was possible, and actually within their reach. Others will say that, though they did believe that such a life was possible, and seek after it, they have never yet succeeded discovering the secret of its attainment. And others, again, terrible thought! will confess that it is their own unfaithfulness that has kept them from the enjoyment of the blessing. When the Savior would have kept them, they were not found ready to stay; they were not prepared to give up everything and always, only, completely to abide in Jesus.
To all such sorrowing souls I come now in the name of Jesus, their Redeemer and mine,. I bring Christ’s blessed message: “Abide in me.” In His name I invite you to come, and for a season meditate with me daily on the meaning, the lessons, the claims, and the promises of this invitation.
I know how many questions there are. Especially to the young believer, I know how difficult the questions are which come to mind. There is especially the question about the possibility of keeping up, or I should say, being kept in the abiding communion. Especially in the middle of difficult work and continual distractions, this appears to be a great difficulty. I do not undertake to remove all difficulties; for Jesus Christ Himself alone must overcome these difficulties by His Holy Spirit. But what I desire by the grace of God to be permitted to do is this: to repeat day after day the Master’s blessed command, “Abide in me,” until it enter the heart and find a place there, no more to be forgotten or neglected. I desire that in the light of Holy Scripture we should meditate on its meaning, and that we should meditate until our mind, the gate to our heart, opens to understand at least something of what this invitation means and promises.
In the pages that follow we shall discover how to do it, and learn what keeps us from it, and what can help us toward it. We shall feel its demands upon us, and be forced to agree that there can be no true allegiance to our King without simply and with passion accepting this command of His. We shall gaze on the blessedness of this command, until we are passionate in our desire for it. Our will with all its energies will be awakened to claim and possess the unspeakable blessing which we are invited to have.
Come, my brethren, and let us day by day set ourselves at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him. Let us and meditate on this invitation of His, with our eyes looking at Him alone. Let us set ourselves in quiet trust before Him, waiting to hear His holy voice–the still small voice that is mightier than the storm that rends the rocks–breathing its life-giving spirit within us, as He speaks: “Abide in me.” The soul who truly hears Jesus Himself speak the word, receives with the word the power also, to accept and to hold the blessing He offers.
And it may please Thee, blessed Saviour, indeed, to speak to us; let each of us hear Thy blessed voice. May the feeling of our deep need, and the faith of Thy wondrous love, combined with the sight of the wonderfully blessed life Thou art waiting to bestow upon us, constrain us to listen and to obey, as often as Thou speakest: “Abide in me.” Let day by day the answer from our heart be clearer and fuller: “Blessed Saviour, I do abide in Thee. “
This is an edited and abridged version of Murray’s “Abide in Christ”, making the 19th century language easier for 21st century readers. Creative Commons copyright: attribution to YieldtoGod.org, Micah C. Non-edited versions can be found online.