“Abiding in Christ and Walking in Christ”
“He that saith He abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.
Abiding and walking are the lessons of this text. As a result of abiding in Christ, we ought to walk as He walked. The first lesson is abiding in Christ. “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. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5. Christ says, “I am the true Vine.” There are a great many that profess to be vines; but I am the real vine, I am the Vine that has life. We are the branches. But in the Scripture Christ is spoken of as a branch. “Behold, I will bring forth My servant the Branch.” “Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord.” Zech. 3:8; 6:12. “For he shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” Isa. 53: 2. “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” But the Scripture speaks of Christ Himself as the branch. Christ is a branch unto God that He may be a vine unto us.
Before any branch can grow, there must be some life underneath that does not show itself. So the branch is after all only a root which has come up in sight, but which depends for life upon the roots that draw life from the soil. God is the source of all things; but He comes in sight to men in Jesus Christ the Branch, and Christ the branch is but the root of God, growing up in sight that men may see it, and God be manifested. When Jesus Christ came to the world, it was God manifesting Himself; but because the root came up out of what appeared to be dry ground, because it did not manifest itself in the way that men thought it ought to, they did not recognize it. They thought it was something not to be desired, and so they rejected it; and yet it was a branch springing up from the root of life, it was God manifesting Himself to the world so that He could be seen. Clouds and darkness are round about His throne; yet He manifested Himself, so that the world, if they would, might see Him in the Branch.
Christ became a branch unto God in order that He might be a vine unto other branches. But the branch abides in the vine only by having a living connection with it. Just as soon as the branch is severed from the vine, though it is put back again with great care, it no longer abides in the Vine. It will not abide in the vine except it be grafted, and the success of this grafting depends upon making such a connection that the life from the vine shall flow into the branch again.
And we most abide in Christ as— The Branch Abides in the Vine, so that very life of God shall be our life. The branch is full of life, yet it has no life of its own. So we must present ourselves every day to be filled with life from God. Just the moment the connection is severed between the branch and the vine, just that moment the branch ceases to live. That is the lesson of abiding in Christ. As the branch is connected with the vine, filled with life, yet needing all the time to be filled, so we are to be connected with Christ, wholly dependent upon Him for life.
That is the lesson; what is the application?—”He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” If the branch is connected with the vine, it bears the fruit of the vine. God in Christ is the true Vine, but the fruit of the grape vine is not found directly on the stalk. The fruit is found on the branches. Christ is our vine, and those who, through becoming connected with Him, are His branches, will bring forth the same fruit as He did when He was here, a branch Himself. That is to say, they will walk even as He walked. This brings before us the thought of Christ our Example.
“He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Not as men say He walked, but as He walked. And how shall we know how He walked? –By reading and studying His life. That is where we find how Christ walked, and there we will find how we ought to walk. And we will walk as He walked, not wholly as an obligation, but as a result. If one says he abides in Christ, and walks not as He walked, his life is contrary
to his profession. We do not get into Christ by trying to walk as He walked; we do not abide in Christ by trying to walk as He walked; but we first get into Christ, and then as a consequence, just as the branch will bring forth the fruit of the vine, so will the Christian, who really abides in Christ, bring forth the same fruit that He bore, walking as He walked.
If we abide in Him, we will walk in His steps, and He has left us an example that we should walk in His steps. There are many people who take it upon themselves to point out what are Christ’s footsteps; but His word is the test, and in it we may find whether they are pointing out the right footsteps or not. There are in the world to-day many false conceptions of Christ, which amount really to having a false Christ. It is not what our idea of Christ is, but what He is, that is to be our example; not what we have been taught that Christ is, but what word says that He is.
It was revealed unto Simeon “that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” and that is what we want to see. Not any man’s idea of what Christ ought to be, but the Lord’s Christ. That is the Christ of the word, and our idea of how Christ walked should be formed wholly by the word.
A Practical Test
And now let us test it that way. It is quite likely that as soon is we begin to talk of walking with Christ, there comes up the thought, Christ walked on the water; and you surely do not expect us to walk on the water. Let me call your attention to an incident at the beginning of Christ’s ministry: “And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.
And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets and followed Him.” Matt. 4: 18-20. Before Christ walked on the sea, He walked by the sea on the land; and before He saw Peter on the water, He saw him on the land and told him to follow Him, and Peter left his nets and followed Him. Later on in Christ’s ministry, we find that after He had fed the five thousand, His disciples took ship to go across the lake, but He went apart into a mountain to pray; “and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” Matt. 14:2325. But notice that before He walked on the sea, He had spent the night in secret prayer. “But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with the waves: for the wind was contrary.” So is our ship. Very likely just now some ship is being tossed by the waves of human tempest. And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them from His season of secret prayer, walking on the sea. “And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Let Him say that to you now. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” “And Peter answered Him, and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He Said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Verses 26-31. Christ’s walk on the sea was the walk of faith. But Peter failed because of his lack of faith. It is contrary to nature to walk on the water, and it is contrary to our nature to walk as Christ walked; but He says to us as He said to Peter, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Whether it be on land or on sea, His word is a rock; and when He puts His word beneath our feet, He builds for us a bridge of rock, and it makes no difference whether He puts that bridge on land, or water, or in the sky.
But Peter sank. And the Peter that sank that night on the water is the Peter that sank that other night, in failing to testify for Je
sus. The reason in both cases was his lack of faith. In every walk of Christ there is a lesson for us, and as it is unnatural for man to walk on water, so it is unnatural for him to walk as Christ walked—in obedience to the character of God; but power is given through faith in God’s word, “Come unto Me.”
Although Christ was God in the flesh, yet He did not escape the criticism of men as to the way He walked. Observe the record:
“And it came to pass as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it,”—Who is a Pharisee?—He is a man who has undertaken to be his own Saviour, and is very confident in his own power to do the work. It does not matter whether he lived eighteen hundred years ago, or whether he lives to-day. Who is a Christian? One who depends upon Christ as his Saviour, and has all confidence in Him. Christ came in contact with Pharisees who were making themselves holy, and they found fault with Him for eating with publicans and sinners, and “they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matt. 9:10-13. When they found fault with the way He was walking, He said, I am walking according to the Scriptures, and if you were following those Scriptures, you would not find fault with Me. These men were the leaders of the religious thought of the day. They were looked upon as the teachers of the people, and they prided themselves in that position. Yet they criticised Christ’s walk.
Let us read another record: “And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased.” What displeased them?—Because the children cried Hosanna to Christ and not to the scribes and Pharisees. “And said unto Him, Hearest Thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” I am walking in accordance with the Scriptures.
Let us turn to Mark’s Gospel on this point; “And it came to pass that He went through the cornfields on the Sabbath day; and His disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto Him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful?” Mark 2:23, 24. For what did they find fault with Him this time? The first time it was about sitting down and eating with sinners; but it was His glory to receive sinners then, and it is so now. The second time they found fault with Him about the children singing His praises. Let them sing them now. The third time it was because He did not keep the Sabbath day according to their idea, and how does He meet it? “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need and was an hungered, he and all that were with him?” If you had read the Scriptures, you would not have found fault with Me in that way. The principles laid down in the Scriptures are the principles which govern My life, but I am not walking according to your interpretation of the Scriptures.
With those who desire the truth, as soon as the truth is presented to them, the controversy is at an end. Those who desire an argument will dodge from one point to another, as did the Pharisees with Christ.
“And He entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched Him, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath day.” The same controversy again. “And He saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.” Mark 3:1-4. Well they might; for there was nothing to be said. And He healed the man.
The Controversy in Christ’s Time and Ours
In Christ’s time the controversy between Him and the Pharisees was how to keep the Sabbath; and when Christ settled it, He settled it on the basis of
the Scriptures. The controversy to-day is, Which day shall we keep for the Sabbath? Settle it on the same ground. That is walking as Christ walked. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked,” not as people say He walked. If someone says that Christ kept the first day of the week, go to the Bible, and ask for the record. If some claim that the Sabbath was changed by Him or by the apostles in honour of His resurrection, ask for a “Thus saith the Lord.” The word is our only safe guide. Walk as He walked. The man who walks as Christ walks will not necessarily walk as the leading religious teachers of the day walk. Christ did not; for it was the Pharisees who found fault with Him. Christ did not conform His life to their ideas. He told them what the Scripture said, and told them that He was walking in accordance to that word. And to-day let that word settle every controversy.
Christ the Manifestation of the Character of God
When Christ, looking back over His life of thirty-three years, said that He had finished the work His Father gave Him to do, how did He sum it all up? “All things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” “If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:15, 10. In this statement we have not so much a command as an example, and when Christ said that, He gave His complete biography. When he said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments,” He gave His whole life-history. And what does it mean?—I have manifested the character of My Father. What, then, does it mean to keep the commandments?—It means to manifest the character of God as it appeared in Jesus Christ. Nothing short of that is keeping the commandments. The Pharisees prided themselves that they were keeping the commandments, but Christ said, “Ye know not the Scriptures.” What they knew about the Scriptures, they had learned by the head. What we learn about the Scriptures, we must learn by heart, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know,”—know it really and truly by heart.
When Christ told them that He had kept His Father’s commandments, He told them that He was the manifestation of God on the earth. He told them in those words that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself; He told them that He did not speak His own words, but the words of His Father. “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” He told them that He was the Word of God on the earth, because He was declaring the character of God. He told them He was Jesus Christ. All this He told them in these words: “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” Christ was a man, the Son of man. There has, then, been one man who walked this earth, and kept the commandments of God. He is our example. We are to walk as He walked.
Can We Keep the Commandments?
When we thus learn from the Scriptures that keeping the commandments is manifesting the character of God, we may say, It is impossible f
or us to do that. That is a good beginning. We cannot do it, that is true. But who did keep the commandments?—Jesus Christ. And who can do it over again, even in sinful flesh?—Jesus Christ. And how shall we walk as He walked? “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My People.” 2 Cor. 6: 16. God dwelt in Christ and walked in Christ. Christ was the branch unto God that He might be the vine unto us, that the life through Him might flow into us as branches, that we might bear the fruit of the vine.
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk even as He walked.” Let the scripture tell how He walked: “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” The life of God abides in him who abides in Christ, and the scripture is fulfilled, “I will dwell in them and walk in them.” God in Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in the man, walks in him. This shows how we can walk as Christ walked.
But first of all, take what the word of God says. Do not take what man says. Let the light of God shine upon His word. Let His Holy Spirit teach us the blessed living truth of His word, and God Himself will fulfil His word in everyone who thus receives it.
But let us read further: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments and do them.” Eze. 36:26, 27. That is the promise of God. But when He says, “My Child, this way,” and I choose to go another way, He does not cause us to walk in His way. He does not cause us to do contrary to our will in this matter. But when one says, Lord, show me the way (Ps. 119:33), He shows him the way, and causes him to walk in it. That is the way of His working.
The blessed Bible teaches us the same truth in a hundred different ways. Suppose we turn to a page of what we may call God’s picture book. To help children to understand, we give them pictures to illustrate what we are teaching. We are but children, and God often tells us a truth by putting a picture before us. Here is one:—
“And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and He healed them.” Could any one be much worse off? They were in a terrible plight, but “He healed them.” “Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see; and they glorified the God of Israel.” Matt. 15:30, 31. We are lame; we cannot walk as Christ walked. Christ had a noble walk. We cannot walk that kind of a walk. What does He do for us? He healed them; cannot He heal us?
Here is another of God’s pictures, which we have looked at many times. It is the picture of the man lame from his mother’s womb. Take the Scripture just as it reads. What was the matter with this man? He was lame. And how long had he been lame?—All his life. What did Peter say to him?—”Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What then? “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” And when he had received strength, what did he do?— “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.” But he had to receive strength in the name of Jesus of Nazareth before he could walk. And the people “were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.” “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?” Ye men that believe in Israel’s God, why do ye wonder at this? Do you not believe in a God of power? “Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?” Acts 3:6-12
Walking As Christ Walked
No man can make another walk as Christ walked if he has not the strength to walk that way. It is through faith in Jesus of Nazareth. “And His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Israel’s God lives to-day, and the same power that touched that man who never had walked and made him able to walk, can take the worst sinner, who never has stepped one step in the steps of Jesus Christ, and make him to walk as Christ walked. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
Here is another picture to show us that we can walk as He walked through faith in His name: “And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked.” But he had heard Paul speak, and the message had taken hold of his heart. Paul saw that he had faith to be healed, and he “said with a loud voice, stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.” Acts 14:8-10. And he walked like a well man. He was made well in order that he might do this. That is the work of Jesus Christ. And to-day by His power we can walk as He walked. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Col. 2:6. And to walk in Him is the only way we can walk as He walked.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Eph. 5:2. Many people have a very incorrect idea of what it means to walk in love. They seem to have an idea that it is to get up a kind of ecstasy so that they do not know where they are or what they are doing. It means to them to get above the ordinary things of life. This is not the correct view. The Scripture defines exactly what it means to walk in love. “And this is love that we walk after His commandments.” 2 John 6. “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments.” I John 5: 3. “If ye love Me,” Christ said, “keep My commandments.” “If ye keep My Commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” John 15:10. The love of God is not a sentimental emotion, not a fanatical frenzy of experience. Christ worked at the carpenter’s bench during the greater part of His life. He went down to Nazareth and was subject to His parents. His walk as a young man is the walk for every young man. Christ tells us how to love Him. He does not accept anything else.
It is of great importance for us to get a right idea of Jesus Christ. Let a man get a wrong idea of Him, and He will devote his life to his false idea, and sacrifice the lives of all who do not see his Christ as He sees Him. Take, for instance, the example of Paul. He was looking for Messiah; but it was his Messiah, not the Lord’s Messiah, so that when the Lord’s Messiah came he did not see Him. Some did, and believed on Him, and Paul immediately began to persecute them because they did not believe on his Christ. “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.” “In the Jews’ religion.” God’s religion never persecuted anybody. It is man’s religion that leads one to persecute those who do not see his Christ. God’s religion never does so. “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation.” Observe what the Jews’ religion was. “Being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Gal. 1:13, 14. He was zealous of the traditions of his fathers, not of the word of God. “But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto yon, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterward I came into the region of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” Gal. 1:15-24. It is important that we have a true idea of Christ.
Christ is All and in All, and in order to walk as He walked, we must know Him in His capacity of adapting Himself to us. The Scripture sets Him forth in this way, that we may appropriate the love of God to ourselves.
“I am the door.” John 10:7. That is the entrance. No man can enter except through Christ.
“I am the way.” John 14:6. I am the door and the way to walk in.
“I am the light of the world.” John 8:12. I am the door, the way, the light. This is a dark world, and we need a light.
“I am that bread of life.” John 6:48. We need strength to walk in the way. “I am that bread of life.”
“I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11. He is the companion who goes with His sheep.
“I am … the life.” John 14:6. This is the power for the way.
“I am the resurrection.” John 11:25. That is the end of the road.
I am the door, I am the way, I am the light, I am the bread, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the life, I am the resurrection. That is: I am the entrance, the road, the light to walk by, the strength to walk with, the companion by the way, the power for the way, and the end of the way. And so David in the 23rd Psalm says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Jesus Christ’s walk extends not simply to the grave, but through the grave. And because of this, we may go through the valley of the shadow of death, and not be left in it. “I am the resurrection and the life;” and he who abides in Christ, who is the door, the way, the light, the bread, the Good Shepherd, the life, and the resurrection, does walk “even as He walked.”
~October 20, 1895 Armadale Campmeeting Talk. W.W. Prescott. To learn more about what Ellen White spoke about these special messages from this campmeeting, click here.