“Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
John turns to the responsibility of his readers to avoid being taken in by the false teachers of the previous verses. First, they are to remain true to the original message they received when they became Christians. This is a spiritual safeguard against falling away from the foundation of Christianity.
Therefore let that abide in you
God wants the believer to let eternal truths abide in his soul. John uses “abide” six times in this section. The idea is continuing assimilation of God’s truth to experience. It is not enough to assent formally to the message of the past; we must own it for our lives now. If we continually apply the principles of the Word to experience, we will engage with the reality of the Word.
2: 14 “I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.”
Abiding has to do with fellowship, not relationship. Fellowship produces fruit-bearing in the Christian life.
which you heard from the beginning.
First, it is our responsibility to let the Word abide in us. Secondly, it is God’s responsibility to give the Word in the first place – “which you heard from the beginning.”
The phrase “which you heard” refers to something handed down from the past that is constantly true and reliable. The tense indicates that God handed down the Word at a given time in the past. It is our responsibility to allow the unalterable Word of God live at home in our souls harmoniously.
If we accept salvation by faith, we should accept the fullness of the Christian life by faith.
When someone comes along with unique doctrine, it is always a red flag. Truth is always older than error. The challenge is to remain true to apostolic teaching – to the teaching of the New Testament. We hold fast to the faithful Word because our fellowship with God in both eternity and time revolve around it.
Ti 1: 9 “…holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”
We must not forget foundational things. Everything we know about God we learned from the Bible. We cannot forget about fundamental truth, basic truth, if we want to move on in the Christian life. The crucial concern is that we engage with God through His Word.
Co 3: 16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Steadfastness in truth received is a high priority to God. God’s Word is a finished quantity of truth. It is not in a state of flux making it indefinite. Truth in the beginning is truth in the end. It is an anchor for the soul.
If we allow the truth to dwell in us, we will have intimate fellowship with God. We must allow truth to have a vital place in our priorities and behavior. Orthodoxy is one thing but “orthopraxy” is another. It is one thing to formally believe truth but it is something else to practice what we believe.
Jn 15: 7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
Letting the message abide in us is more than applying the Bible to experience occasionally. If we let it abide in us, it will take hold of us. Cursory trafficking in the Word will not deliver the change in our lives that we need. The Word must abide in us in order to possess us. It needs to grip our souls and find lodgment in our souls. It will change our lives if we allow it to do so.