John's Gospel describes a special relationship between God the Father and Jesus the Son. It is a mutual intimacy based on Jesus' subjection and equality. Throughout the Gospel Jesus speaks what He hears the Father saying, does what He sees the Father doing. Jesus does not act on His own, but on the will of the Father.

This intimate fellowship and servanthood sets the pattern for the relationship between Jesus and His followers. This intimate association was not the absorption of the individual (as in eastern mysticism), but an ethical, moral lifestyle of emulation (cf. John 13:15; 1 Pet. 2:21). Fellowship was

1. cognitive (the worldview of the gospel as the Word of God)

2. relational (Jesus was God's promised Messiah to be trusted in and leaned on)

3. ethical (His character reproduced in godly believers)


Jesus is the ideal man, the true Israelite, the standard of humanity. He reveals what Adam should have, and could have been (humanly speaking). Jesus is the ultimate "image of God." He restores the fallen divine image in mankind (cf. Gen. 1:26-27) by

1. revealing God

2. dying on our behalf (substitutionary atonement)

3. providing humans an example to follow

The term "abiding" (menĊ) reflects the goal of Christlikeness (cf. Rom. 8:28-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4; 4:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:13; Titus 2:4; 1 Pet. 1:15), the restoration of the Fall (cf. Genesis 3). This reunion of God and His ultimate creation, mankind, for the purpose of fellowship is the Apostle Paul's "in Christ" and the Apostle John's "abide in Me."

Notice John's usage:

1. Abiding between the Father and Son

a. the Father in the Son (John 10:38; 14:10,11; 17:21,23)

b. the Son in the Father (John10:38; 14:10,11; 17:21)


2. Abiding between Deity and the believer

a. the Father in the believer (John 14:20,23; 1 John 3:24; 4:12-13,15)

b. the believer in the Father (John 14:20,23; 17:21; 1 John 2:24,27; 4:13,16)

c. the Son in the believer (John 6:56; 14:20,23; 15:4,5; 17:23)

d. the believer in the Son (John 6:56; 14:20,23; 15:4,5,7; 1 John 2:6,24,27,28)


3. Other abiding elements (positive)

a. the word of God

1) negatively (John 5:38; 8:37; 1 John 1:10; 2 John 9)

2) positively (John 8:31; 15:2; 1 John 2:14,24; 2 John 9)

b. the love of God (John 15:9-10; 17:26; 1 John 3:17; 4:16)

c. the Spirit of God

1) on the Son (John 1:32)

2) in the believer (John 14:17)

d. obedience is abiding (John 15:10; 1 John 3:24)

e. love is abiding in light (1 John 2:10)

f. doing the will of God is abiding (1 John 2:17)

g. anointing abides (1 John 2:27)

h. truth abides (2 John 2)

i. the Son abides (John 8:35; 12:34)


4. Other abiding elements (negative)

a. the wrath of God abides (John 3:36) 

b. abide in darkness (John 12:46)

c. thrown away. . .burned (not abiding, John 15:6)

d. sinning (not abiding, 1 John 3:6)

e. not loving (not abiding, 1 John 3:14)

f. not a murderer (not eternal life abiding, 1 John 3:15)

g. he who does not live abides in death (1 John 3:14)