Yesterday as I was having my quiet time with the Lord, He impressed upon me the value of abiding in Him. I read in John 15:4-7 Jesus’ explanation of abiding in Him. But, I kept asking myself “what does it mean to abide in Him?” I went back to God’s word and reread the verses pertaining to the story Jesus told of the vine and branches.
In the story Jesus uses the story of the vine and branches to show the importance of our “remaining” or “abiding in Him”. He points out that He is the vine and we are the branches. Without Him we will die. He also gives us proof of what happens when we abide in Him.
Proofs of abiding in Christ (i.e., proofs that one is truly saved and not just pretending) include obedience to Christ’s commands (John 15:10; 1 John 3:24); following Jesus’ example (1 John 2:6); living free from habitual sin (1 John 3:6); and the awareness of a divine presence within one’s life (1 John 4:13).
One of the proofs of our salvation is perseverance, or sustained abiding in Christ. The saved will continue in their walk with Christ (see Revelation 2:26). That is, they will “abide” or remain in Him. God will complete His work in them (Philippians 1:6), and they will bring forth much fruit to the glory of God (John 15:5). Those who fall away, turn their backs on Christ, or fail to abide simply show their lack of saving faith. Abiding is not what saves us, but it is one of the signs of salvation.
If you’ve fallen away from Christ it is not too late to confess your sins, repent and ask His forgiveness. When you are received back into the fold of Jesus’ care you can start abiding in Him and God will complete His work in you.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—1 John 1:9
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God’s Holy Spirit lives in you. Through Him, God enables you to do everything He asks, making the possibilities for service limitless.
Have you been sitting on the sidelines because you have let sin and shame discourage you? Perhaps you feel as though God can’t use your broken vessel.
Don’t let your feelings overshadow the truth! God is big enough to forgive you, restore you, and use you to restore others. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Once you have confessed and turned from your sins, you are cleansed—but God does not purify you and empower you with His Spirit merely to make you feel good. God’s purification process fulfills the Scriptures and equips His children for service. The question is not, “Do I have the power?” It is, “How will I use that power?”
5 And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you: God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.—1 John 1:5-7
One of the main reasons Christians doubt their salvation is the presence of sin in their life. According to 1 John 1:6, people who profess faith while continuing in a sinful lifestyle are deceiving themselves and walking in darkness. Verse 7, however, offers reassurance to those who are truly saved: Though they’ll still sin at times, this doesn’t mean they’ve lost their salvation. Today’s passage explains how believers are to deal with sin when it occurs in their life:
Confess your sins (1 John 1:9). Confession should be our first response when we stumble and fall. It means acknowledging to God that we’ve acted in a manner inconsistent with His character and standards and are in need of His promised forgiveness and cleansing.
Know that Christ is your Advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1-2). It’s never God’s will that we sin, but when we do, Jesus is our Defender in God’s courtroom. His sacrifice fully atoned for our sin and satisfied divine justice. When we repented and believed that Christ died for our sins, we were justified and declared righteous before God.
Know that sin is not a continuing practice in the life of a true believer (1 John 3:9). Since we’re born of God and the Holy Spirit abides in us, we cannot continue in sin. Although there may be brief periods of transgression, God’s Spirit works in us to change our desires and practices.
A believer’s disobedience brings the Lord’s discipline, not loss of salvation. However, as God’s children, we should never excuse our disobedience or abuse God’s grace by living in sin. Instead, we’re to pursue obedience and holiness.
(Presented with permission | © In Touch Ministries)
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.— Romans 10:9-10
There is the heart of a person and there is the mouth of a person. When it comes to salvation, the two should be in harmony with one another. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is who the Bible says He is, then your mouth should also confess that Jesus is who the Bible says he is. If you do these two things, then our verse for today says you are saved.
Although Paul doesn’t explicitly say it in this context, the Bible teaches that the person whose heart truly believes and whose mouth truly confesses will also start down the road towards a Christ-like life. It was James who explicitly made this point. He said, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” (James 2:14). Indeed, Jesus himself said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me'” (Matthew 16:24).
The heart full of faith in Jesus will confess that faith and will begin, however imperfectly, to walk in that faith.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar, and His word is not in us”—1 John 1:8-10
Confessing our sins can be a very freeing experience. After our confession it feels like the weight of the world has been lifted from our shoulders. Of course confession is not telling God something He already knows. That’s impossible.
Confessing our sins is a radical reliance on God’s grace. The thing is, people who confess find a freedom that deniers of sin do not! Scripture says, “If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.”
Did you catch that? All of our wrongs. Not some or a few or only the big ones. He will forgive ALL of them. I know it’s not easy confessing our sins to the Lord, but you and the Lord need to agree that what you’ve done was wrong and you are now turning away from that sin.
Let the pureness of God’s grace flow over you and your past mistakes. That’s right. Past mistakes. You no longer have to carry the burden of your sins. Why? Jesus died to set you free.
What would an X-ray of your interior reveal? Remorse over a poor choice? Shame about the marriage that didn’t work or the temptation you didn’t resist? Guilt lies hidden beneath the surface, festering, and irritating. Sometimes it’s so deeply embedded you don’t know the cause of your pain. And you can be touchy, you know. Understandable, since you have a shank of shame lodged in your soul.
Would you like an extraction? Here’s what you do. Confess! Ask God to help you. Psalm 139:23-24 is a model prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Confession. Confessors find a freedom that deniers don’t. If we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins! He will cleanse us. Not might, could, would, or even should. He WILL!
One of the concerns often heard from believers is the fear that God has not forgiven them. Despite having confessed their sins, they’re still uncertain of their cleansing and wonder if they didn’t feel sorry enough. Instead of rising from their knees purified and restored, they feel as if a cloud of God’s disapproval and disappointment is covering them.
This kind of thinking is based on feelings, not truth. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus and His death as payment for our sins. The moment we believe, God declares us righteous in His eyes, and all our sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven. Romans 8:1 reassures us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It’s not our confession of wrongdoing but the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Another reason some doubt God’s forgiveness is the erroneous belief that confession maintains our salvation. If we think any unconfessed sin leaves us open to the Lord’s condemnation, we’ll continually wonder if we’ve forgotten some transgression or haven’t confessed quickly enough.
Both of these misconceptions are caused by a faulty understanding of what confession is. Confession means agreeing with God that what we have done is sinful and doesn’t fit who we are in Christ. As the Holy Spirit brings conviction, we begin to feel inner discomfort and guilt. Although we are still God’s children, our disobedience disrupts our fellowship with Him. The solution is to go to our heavenly Father and confess our wrong so we can be cleansed and restored to the peace and joy of our relationship with Him.