II. MAINTAINING THE ABIDING IN THE LORD
Abiding in the Lord is the way to maintain and continue in our experience of the fact of being in the Lord. As soon as we are saved God puts us into Christ. But how can we continually maintain the fellowship with the Lord? First John points out two means: the blood and the anointing.
A. The Cleansing of the Blood
First John 1 directly and clearly shows us that we need to maintain the fellowship through the blood. God is light. Once you have fellowship with God and touch Him, you cannot escape being in the light. Fellowship places you before God, and it also puts you in the light. Once you are in the light, you will inevitably see your sins. For example, at first glance the air surrounding us seems to be very clean. If, however, we observe that same air under intense sunlight, immediately we will notice that there are innumerable dirt particles floating in that air. Without the exposing of the light of the sun we would not be able to see them. Likewise, if we lack the fellowship with God and are therefore not in the light, we can never be conscious of our own mistakes. But once we enter into fellowship with God and we are put in the light, we discover that we are full of impurities. There are impurities in our mind, our emotion, our will, our intention, our motive, and even in the consciousness of our spirit. Once we are in the light, our condition surely becomes manifest. And once it becomes manifest, our conscience will condemn us. If there is not the cleansing of the blood, offenses will definitely be present in our conscience. Once there are offenses in our conscience, the fellowship between God and us is interrupted, and we thus come out from the presence of the Lord.
Furthermore, in our daily living there are still many actual sins which could offend our conscience. We have previously mentioned such things as going to the movies and losing our temper. Without any need of teaching from others, you, yourself know too well that these things are wrong. As one who is saved, who is in Christ, and who is in the light, you automatically have this feeling. Nevertheless, because of your weakness, you may have done such things. And because you did those things, there were offenses in your conscience, and you felt that you had come out of the presence of the Lord.
At that very moment you need to be cleansed by the blood of our Lord Jesus. If we are in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship one with another (1 John 1:7). Under the light of such a fellowship, we see our sins and spontaneously confess them before the Lord. The blood of Jesus His Son will then cleanse us and remove the offenses from our conscience (1 John 1:9). Then we sense that we are again in fellowship with the Lord. The blood is able to restore and recover our fellowship. This recovery is the maintenance.
In the Old Testament, on the day of atonement, the high priest would bring the blood into the Holy Place and put it upon the incense altar. Then he would bring it into the Holy of Holies and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, which is to sprinkle it before God. Hebrews 9 tells us that the Lord Jesus also brought with Him the blood which He shed on the cross, into the presence of God and sprinkled it before God. To this day, the blood of the Lord Jesus is still speaking well of us before God. It speaks on our behalf and is the ground of atonement. It is based on this blood that we confess our offenses before God. When we thus confess, the Spirit applies the effectiveness of the cleansing of the blood upon our conscience. Our conscience is purged of all its offenses, so that there is no more barrier between God and us, and the fellowship is restored. Hence, our abiding in the Lord is first maintained by means of the blood.
(Lessons on Prayer, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)