“As the Father has loved me, so have I 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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11)
How may believers abide in the love of Christ and therefore by consequential logic, the love of God the Father? By obeying and keeping the commandments of God.
Believers remain and continue to exist in a continual love for Christ by obeying the command from God to obey the commandments of God. Jesus’ statement to “abide in my love” is in itself a commandment. To do so, we must obey the commandments of God found in the Word of God inspired by the Spirit of God.
The example which is set before us is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus kept the Father’s commandments and abided in His love. Jesus calls all believers in Christ to do the same.
The word for love which Jesus used is the Greek word ἀγαπάω (agapao). It is not a sentimental feeling but rather a self-sacrificial love of the will. This type of love for Christ, displayed by our obedience to the Word of God, is to be evidenced not on the basis of our feelings but often in spite of our feelings and emotions.
I recently met with a young couple at a Wendy’s Restaurant for the purpose of providing pre-marital counseling. During our meeting, the three of us examined the responsibilities of husbands and wives as outlined in Ephesians 5:22-33. I took particular pains to explain to the young man that his love for his fiancé, soon to be wife, was to be the same type of love Jesus displayed on the cross and which He spoke of in today’s text. A self-sacrificial love of the will and not a love based upon his emotions and feelings is the prescription for an enduring marriage: till death you do part.
Sadly, this is not the understanding many people have in their marriages or in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Too often our love for each other, and our love for Christ, is based upon an emotional or religious high acquired each weekend at a so-called worship service where the focus most often is upon the excitement of the worshipers and not upon the biblical object of worship: God and God alone. Too often we become enamored with the artificial fog of life and distracted by the laser light shows of living. Too often we want our worship services, and our Christian life, to resemble a U2 concert. There may be a lot of emotional excitement for the moment, but there is no lasting substance or foundation for godliness. The substance of a Christian’s life is obedience to the Word of God.
John Calvin explains that, “Christ does not reconcile believers to the Father, that they may indulge in wickedness without reserve, and without punishment; but that, governing them by his Spirit, he may keep them under the authority and dominion of his Father. Hence it follows, that the love of Christ is rejected by those who do not prove, by true obedience, that they are his disciples.”
As another commentator states, “In today’s passage, Christ is not talking about our justification—our being declared righteous in God’s sight—so keeping His commandments (John 15:9-11) does not mean sinless perfectionism. It means a sincere effort to obey Him, repentance when we sin, and a refusal to trust in our own merit for redemption (see 1 John).”
By obeying the commandments of God, we discover true and enduring joy. Joy is not a momentary happiness when life is going well, but rather a peace and contentment which endures the most difficult of times.
Prove your love for Christ today by being obedient to the commandments found in Scripture.
Soli deo Gloria!