Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
These words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are either true or not. Either we are incapable of doing any eternal good without Christ, or He is speaking false words. The proclamations of Jesus always bring us to a challenge of our faith; do we really believe He speaks with absolute authority on matters of eternity, and if so, do we trust and obey Him in the matter as we should?! Jesus did not say we cannot do actions or bring results on our own without faith in Him, He is referring in context of accomplishing things that matter in eternity in the Kingdom of God. All of us are capable of creating chaos in our lives and the lives of others by our actions, this is not what is being referred to. We can also do seemingly kind and good things, but they will not hold up to the scrutiny of God on Judgment Day! We are by our sinful nature beings that live separated from God and in enmity with Him unless we have been transformed by the grace of God by faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8) When we get saved or born again by the Spirit of God, we are now in right standing with Him and empowered and led by Him to do right things, in the right way, with the right attitude. Our ability to do this though, is dependent on our “abiding” in Christ. What does that mean? It means simply that we are surrendered to Him in our will and yielding to His Spirit and His Word as we live. As His children by faith, we have the capacity to disobey God and both grieve and quench His Spirit in us just as we can please and honor Him by our choices. We are not robots! Yet in all of this, we also know that God is sovereign and rules over all the affairs of mankind. This is a great mystery, and it is why we must live by faith! God gives us our every breath and heartbeat, and everything that happens “clears His desk”, so to speak, in being allowed. What I do know with certainty from the above verse is that each of us must live in daily dependence on God as we are told all must do who desire to follow Christ. (Luke 9:23) Let us never believe that we are honoring God by self-willed actions that rely totally on our wits and abilities without guidance and empowerment from the Holy Spirit. All we do in life should be birthed in faith and a desire to honor our Lord and to bless His children. It is a high calling that every believer has, and that is why how we live is so very important, and our dependence on is God essential. If we walk closely with the Lord Jesus Christ each day, His grace will be more than sufficient to help us fulfill this calling!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek