John 14:15-21: Love and Obedience
December 2, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
In so much of our thinking, love is discontinuous from performance, action—and certainly from obedience. Our affectional life is distinct from our duties, we often think. It is hard for us, then, to understand the kind of connection that Jesus makes frequently in this passage. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Really? Yes!
Love for Jesus necessitates obedience—not perfect obedience, for none of us is perfect. He who says he has no sin deceives himself. We all fail to keep and obey all that God says. But the one who loves Jesus will aim to, attempt to, and gradually increase in obedience of Jesus.
Think of the implications of this truth. How can you grow in your Christlikeness? By growing in your Christ-love! That means that the royal road to godliness is not mere discipline, but devotion and adoration. You do not need to tell a young man in love with a young woman to make sure that he spends time with his belle. He will! Why? Because he loves her. Similarly, with our relationship with Christ, a love that is far more than merely romantic. As our love grows, so will our obedience.
It is also a stern word to those who say that while they are not doing what Jesus commands them to do in the Bible, they still love Jesus. There is no place for deliberate refusal and confidence in our love for Jesus at the same time. If we love Jesus, we will, by discipline, hard work, determination, and affection, do all we can by the power of the Spirit to keep his commands.
The other theme, then, in this passage is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit is another “helper.” That is, the Spirit gives the believer power, strength, and assistance in his walk with Christ. The Spirit is the Spirit of “truth.” A woman filled with the Spirit will be a woman who longs after truth, for the Spirit is the Spirit of truth. The more we have of the Spirit, the more we will want to learn the truth. Bible study and Holy Spirit filling are to go together like breath and speech. With this love, the Spirit comes to us and makes his home with us. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a Trinitarian passage this if ever there was. All to be worshipped, adored, and by the power of the Spirit obeyed!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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