Note well here that this abiding is not a term of standing, but of state. It does not precede salvation, it presumes it. A man in Christ has the Spirit in virtue of his union; but many a man in Christ loses the manifestation of the Spirit through failure of communion. Many a Christian is right in standing, but wrong in state; sure of salvation, but slack in walk and communion. In such, barrenness of life and powerlessness in service indicate not lost salvation in Christ, but lost fellowship with Christ; not lost justification, but loss of abiding faith in the sense already used.
Then to make the argument even stronger, he reminds us that without Christ we were dead to God. How then can we consider ourselves able to live the godly life without him?
Beloved, are we so dissatisfied with self as to feel the supreme need of Christ alone? Do we realize that in ourselves we are dead men and women? The very fact that a man must be born again, do we realize his to be in itself the most tremendous indictment against and proof of the utter worthlessness of our own natural self-life that a holy God could ever array against us? Have we accepted the logical consequences of regeneration, in their bearing on holy living? Do we realize our need of living in God, as well as being born of God? Are we conscious of our need of Abiding?
James McConkey, The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit, (Richmond: Silver Publishing Society, 1987), 92, 93-94.
The more I read of this book, the more I have been convicted of my own need to abide in Christ, or in other words, to live my life relying on Him. When that reliance is actively practiced, there is peace and the difficulties of life don’t seem so bad. But without him, I am worthless. What a difference John 15:1-18 makes!