Posted by: rcottrill | June 25, 2014

Constantly Abiding

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Words: Anne May Sebring Murphy (b. Nov. 11, 1878; d. Mar. 30, 1942)
Music: Anne May Sebring Murphy

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Graphic Anna SebringNote: Some sources give the first name as Anna. And some hymn books attribute this 1908 gospel song to Mrs. William L. Murphy (Anne Sebring’s married name). The couple was married in 1896. You can read a longer biography of her and her fascinating family on the Wordwise Hymns link.

This song is based on the promise of the Lord Jesus in Matthew:

“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

Or, as the Amplified Bible has it, “I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly, and on every occasion), to the [very] close and consummation of the age.” The abiding presence of Christ is assured to all His followers.

CH-1) There’s a peace in my heart that the world never gave,
A peace it cannot take away;
Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud,
I’ve a peace that has come here to stay!

Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine;
Constantly abiding, rapture divine;
He never leaves me lonely, whispers, O so kind:
“I will never leave thee,” Jesus is mine.

As to “abiding” with us, the Lord has much to say about that in the Upper Room Discourse. There, some form of the word is used ten times, referring not to the Lord’s mere presence with us, but something more.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (Jn. 15:4-10)

“Abiding,” is variously translated continue, remain, endure, dwell. As the word is used here by the Lord Jesus, it seems to refer to our conscious and determined effort to maintain close fellowship with the Lord. We have His presence by a sovereign promise. But His “abiding” involves a continuing action on our part.

Since it is a command, it is something the believer is responsible to keep on doing. In vs. 4, “abide in Me” seems to speak of dependance or faith, while “I in you [i.e. let Me abide in you]” could have to do with submission or obedience, as we allow Christ to work out His will in us. (Compare “if…My words abide in you,” vs. 7, and see vs. 10.)

Abiding in Christ in this way provides enablement for life and for service (vs. 4-5). And it results in authority and effectiveness in prayer (vs. 7), as we pray for that will accomplish God’s will, to His greater glory (cf. 14:13). We bring glory to God by fruit bearing (vs. 8), and the reference in this case is to outward fruit, effective ministry in the lives of others (cf. vs. 16).

The inward fruit of Christlike character will also result (described in Gal. 5:22-23). And we will enjoy the love of God, as we walk in obedience to Him (vs. 9-10). The connection between love and obedience is emphasized in this Upper Room Discourse (13:34; 14:21, 24).

Some have taken vs. 6 to refer to a loss of salvation if the believer does not keep abiding in Christ. But the passage is not dealing with salvation but with fruitful service. The NIV renders the verse: “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” A failure to maintain fellowship with the Lord can result in sin and carnality in the life. Such a person is unfit for service, and is disqualified from such. If there is no repentance, and if he dies in such a state, there will be a loss of heavenly rewards (cf. I Cor. 3:11-15).

As you will see in the Wordwise Hymns link, Mrs. Murphy retained the joy of the Lord, and a glowing testimony through difficult trials. The song reflects her joy, and looks forward to the time when she is taken into the presence of her Saviour.

CH-2) All the world seemed to sing of a Saviour and King,
When peace sweetly came to my heart;
Troubles all fled away and my night turned to day,
Blessèd Jesus, how glorious Thou art!

CH-3) This treasure I have in a temple of clay,
While here on His footstool I roam;
But He’s coming to take me some glorious day,
Over there to my heavenly home!

1) Are you abiding in Christ today? (If not, what will you do about that?)

2) From your own experience, what are some of the blessings of abiding in Christ?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


  1. Rev Cottrill, I praise God for your extensive knowledge about the Bible and about all the Hymns you write about. Sometimes you use words that are difficult for me to understand, but I realize you use such words because of your background of study – – and your understanding of the definition of those words. Keep up the good work!


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