In his first epistle, John encourages believers to “…remain in Him, so that when He appears we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28). To remain in Him not only secures our eternity, it also leads to living this life to the fullest extent possible (John 10:10). Many proclaim they believe in Jesus, but far fewer say they know Him.
But how many will remain in Him until He returns? Abiding in Christ doesn’t feel natural to our fallen nature, no matter how much our soul longs to be with Him. Those who love Christ want to be full of Him and nothing else. They want to forsake the world and follow Jesus. Making such proclamations is easy. Living every day of our lives like we mean it is another story entirely.
John states we should remain in Christ so we won’t be ashamed when the Lord returns. This means if we don’t remain in Him, we will be ashamed. I can think of no greater failure or horror in my life than of finding myself ashamed when Christ returns. If I’m ashamed, it means my whole life has been a waste. I haven’t been actively preparing and watching for His return (Matthew 25:1-13), but rather I have foolishly squandered all He entrusted to me (Matthew 25:14-29). No amount of good can overcome a wasted life. If we don’t want to find ourselves ashamed when He comes back, we must live our lives with intention and devotion to our King.
When we remain in Him, Jesus gives us all we need to live. There is no life apart from Him. He is the vine from which we draw all wisdom, truth, perseverance, and courage. Without Him, we can do nothing. Too many think they can be part-time Christians. They know the right Bible verses, attend church regularly, and even volunteer some of their time to help others. But if we do all this without true love for Jesus, or for any purpose other than Jesus, it’s all a façade. We’re just wasting our time and wasting our breath. Unless we remain in Him, He will not abide in us. If He does not abide in us, we have no hope for eternity.
Imagine giving lip service to your Christianity and finding yourself face to face with Jesus one day. You might fool everyone else, but one look into the eyes of Jesus and His holiness will sear your soul. The shame of your double life will be overwhelming. You will know that He knows, and the shame of a wasted life will crush you. The only way to stand unashamed in the presence of the King is to remain in Him throughout this life.
If we remain in Him, we have nothing to fear and no reason to feel any shame at His return. That means we can’t rest. We cannot get lazy in our faith and take a day off from doing everything for His glory. Every day we need to be soaking in His Word and coming to Him in humble prayer. He is everything and we are nothing save for the blood of Christ. Every day is about Jesus. We serve Him every minute of every hour of every day. Only He is worthy. Remain in Him and look forward to the day He returns without fear and without shame.