The word abide is used about 120 times in the New Testament.
Other words like remain, dwell, continue, terry, endure also have a similar meaning that we could study about.
(Matt. 10:11; Luke 19:5; Acts 9:43; 27:31; 1 Cor. 13:13; 2 Tim. 2:13).
The Apostle John employs this verb sixty-four times.
Meaning: Abides in the position in which it is placed. Spiritually speaking the word abide indicates a constancy in relation to Christ.
We should study two important words here; union and communion with Christ.
The most revealing passage is John 15:1-17, where the believer is enjoined to abide in Christ as a branch abides in the vine. This passage will not support the notion that to abide in Christ means to remain in union with Him; when this superficial rendering is accepted, only false doctrine ensues. On the other hand, it is clear that the word of exhortation directs the believer to remain in communion with Christ as He remained in communion with His Father.
Chafer said it this way:
‘As the sap flows from the vine into the branch that remains in contact, so the spiritual vitality flows from Christ to the believer who abides. Communion depends upon agreement and agreement requires complete subjection of one to his superior: thus it is imperative that the commandments of the one shall be kept by the other.’
Christ said that by keeping His Father's commandments He abode in His love. There was, of course, no attempt on Christ's part to preserve a union with His Father. That had been unbroken and unbreakable from all eternity; but, on the human side, He did maintain communion by doing the Father's will.
Having noticed that He is the True Vine and that His Father is the Husbandman and, later, that the saved ones are the branches, Christ declares that a branch in Him--which terminology connotes the most vital union that could ever exist may fail to bear fruit. It is at this point that the meaning of the word abide as used in this
context is determined.
The branch is not in Christ because it bears fruit; but being in Christ, the branch may or may not bear fruit. Thus it is demonstrated that abiding in Christ is not a matter of maintaining union with Christ, but of maintaining communion with Him. When communion with Christ is preserved on the part of the believer, the sap of spiritual vitality is imparted which results in fruit being borne. This verse declares plainly that there are those in Christ, by so much therefore saved and safe forever, who at a given time are not bearing fruit.
This particular verse, referred to above, determines what is actually required of the believer to the end that he may abide in communion with Christ. The issue is stated simply: "If ye keep my commandments."
Again, Chafer said it well:
‘Keeping the commandments of Christ is easily recognized as the ground of fruit-bearing communion with Christ; it is in no sense the ground of union with Christ, which is gained by faith alone. By keeping His perfect will, communion is sustained, which communion opens the way for the divine inflow of vital power by which fruit will be borne.’
The context of John 15 is addressed to those who are saved and does not mention the need for a savior but a need to abide continually in the Savior, Jesus. By abiding in Christ, we are able to have fruit produced by God and He receives the glory as we abide in His love. This is what truly brings joy and peace to the believer. We can truly be satisfied in Him as we bear fruit that will remain.