Living In An Abiding Relationship With Christ -- By: Jeffrey A. Stivason
RPTJ 2:1 (Fall 2015) p. 24
Living In An Abiding Relationship With Christ
Pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian
Church (RPCNA) in Gibsonia, PA
When we ask what it means to live in an abiding relationship with Christ, we should begin by asking a simple question: what does it mean to abide? Well, it quite simply means to “accept or bear,” to “remain or stay,” and to “wait or stand.” The idea then is an uncomplicated one. To abide in a relationship is to continue in that relationship. The continuance may be easily accepted or born with much difficulty. Nevertheless, to think about living in an abiding relationship with Christ is to think about remaining in Christ.
Now, remaining or waiting is perhaps the single most difficult idea to put into practice. No one wants to wait. I remember watching television and movies growing up wherein the hero would instruct someone to wait or remain behind while he went on ahead to secure the bad guys, but inevitably the person whose job it was to remain could not follow that simple instruction. He had to follow the hero! As Christians, however, this is our calling. We are to remain, or abide, in Christ. It is little wonder that the Scriptures put such a premium on standing.
So, the question is how to live in an abiding relationship with Christ? How do we stand in Christ? In answering that question we should begin by consulting the Scripture. There are a variety of Biblical passages to which we could turn as we focus in on our topic. Although John 15 is not least among them, but, rather, is the locus classicus, it is our purpose here to turn elsewhere. We will look at 1 Peter in order to think through what it means to live in an abiding relationship with Christ and the reasons for doing so will become evident with progress.
The plan is as follows: First, we will set the stage theologically. In other words, we will go through some basic theological training that will prepare us to engage in exegetical cartography of 1 Peter. Second, having our theological bearings as well as a familiarity with the structure of 1 Peter, we will explore the sitz im leben or setting of the recipients of this letter and consider why it matters in light of our topic. Finally, we will explore some practical counsel that will help us to abide in Christ.
Theological Basics: Christology
We all know the basics of Christology. Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is one person with two natures dwelling in two estates. Now, it is the latter part of the formula that is of concern to us. What are the estates of Christ? It might be better to ask a more basic question first. What does the word estate mea...
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