“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.”
A few days ago I drew out the following train of thought: to abide in Christ is to obey his commandments; to obey his commandments is to love him; therefore, the commandment to abide in him is tantamount to the commandment to love him. Today I want to strengthen that middle proposition, namely, that to obey Christ’s commandments is to love him.
The connection between obedience and love can be found all throughout the Bible, but it is perhaps most explicit in Deuteronomy and the writings of the apostle John. Consider the following six passages: “You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always” (Deuteronomy 11:1; see also 6:4-9, 10:12-13, 11:13, 11:22, 19:9, 30:16, 30:19-20). “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me” (John 14:23-24). “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” (John 15:10). “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3; above emphases mine).
These several passages are sufficient, I’m sure, to prove the point: to obey Christ is to love him, and to love him is to obey him. Or put another way, obedience makes our love for Christ visible, tangible, objective, and measurable. As I said two days ago, obedience is more than adherence to a list of rules, rather, it is the manifestation of our passion for God. True, biblical obedience is not legalism; it is love.
Prayer Focus: Pray that God will help us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily, and follow him by passionately and willingly obeying his commandments. Pray that God will make us a loving and obedient people.