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Love and Obedience

April 12, 2018

“But so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here,” (John 14:31, NASB).

Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,” (Jn. 14:15). In our first passage, He explains that people know that He loves the Father because He does, “exactly,” what the Father commanded. The connection between love and obedience is clear in Scripture. Of course, we remember that the greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” (Mt. 22:37). You cannot separate love and obedience.

What these texts show us, is that our obedience to the Word of God is directly proportional to how much we love Him. Why was Christ able to perfectly obey the Law of God throughout His entire life, and even lay down His life in obedience? Because He perfectly loved the Father. That is what is so beautiful about the word, “exactly” in John 14:31. Jesus did exactly, and always, what the Father required because He loved God exactly. His perfect love was manifested in perfect obedience.

What this shows us is that our failures in obedience are ultimately due to a failure to love God as we ought. If we loved God perfectly, then we would never sin. The fact that we do sin, reveals that we do not love God perfectly. So as we think about our sin, of course we want to pray that God would put to death our sinful desires by His Holy Spirit. But we also want to recognize that the root of our sin is imperfect love of God. In this way, we can be praying, “God, I sinned against you because I do not love you enough. Increase my love for you so that I will not desire to sin against you.” Now, we do not expect perfection in love, and therefore perfection in obedience, this side of eternity. However, we can expect progress in sanctification and an increased love for God. Paul told the Philippians, “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ,” (Phil. 1:9-10, NASB). What was the root of one’s growth in knowledge and discernment, and therefore their ability to live blamelessly before the day of Christ? It was an increase in their love for God.

May we take the opportunities of our repentance of sin to ask God to increase our love for Him. May we recognize that it is our imperfections in our love for God that lead to our imperfection in obedience. May we pray for ourselves and our brothers and sisters, that God would increase our love for Him, so that we would increase in sanctification and obedience. Thank God for the power of His Spirit!

From → Theology

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