Love and Obedience

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Jn 14:15

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” Jn 14:21

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” Jn 14:23

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.” Jn 15:10

All of those quotes come from Jesus’s teaching to his disciples just before his death. They show us an undeniable connection between obedience and love. You can’t have one without the other. To practice love without obedience produces worldliness, but to practice obedience without love produces legalism. There must be balance.

I gave a lot of thought to these passages last week while preparing a message on obedience. Those who love Christ naturally seek to obey Him. This is an expression of our love. It’s not an effort to earn something or get something from Him, it’s simply reciporcating the love he’s already shown us. God showed us his love through sacrifice (Rom 5:8, Jn 3:16). We return that love through obedience (see above).

Yet, the connection goes even deeper than that. Look at what Jesus says later in the chapter. After repeatedly explaining that those who love him will obey his commands, he then clarifies what he means by “his commands.”

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Jn 15:12

“This is my command: Love each other.” Jn 15:17

Or as John explains it…“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2nd Jn 1:6

Get it? Those who love Jesus obey His command, and what’s His command? To love!! Love leads to obedience and obedience leads to love. Don’t you love that?!

5 thoughts on “Love and Obedience

  1. And what are his commands?Give to a congregation, attend a congregation when "the doors are open", dress nice on Sunday morning, build large buildings that are used for 5 hours over three days a week, be clean, neat, Republican, and American?Feed the hungry, comfort the downcast, love the outcast (and those who hate you), visit the widows, orphans, and prisoners, fellowship with tax collectors and sinners (today we would say drug users, pedophiles, single moms, strippers, drunks, etc), heal the sick, and cast out demons? (The last two are denomination specific, your version of Christianity may not allow you to perform miracles.)

  2. Russ,I am very grateful that Jesus made his "commands" clear. That way we don't have to listen to everyone else telling us their version of what his commands are.If we Love Jesus – we will love people – PERIOD.

  3. Unfortunately, the words "command" and "obedience" are considered 'bad words' by most people: the words create pictures of guilt and 'have to'. (that's not the fault of the Bible, of course. This is our human problem).Instead, Jesus calls us into a relationship with Him. The more we spend time with Him in that relationship and grow into His character and nature, our deepest desire will be to obey Him and follow His commands – not to earn His love – but to express our relationship with Him.This is the whole journey of the Christian life.

  4. I think it also speaks to the kind of love Jesus is talking about. If we love him, it is assumed that we would want to obey him because his commands are also in our best interest. Obedience isn't "forced" (i.e. God is not twisting our arm or coercing us in any way), but it is an assumed product of our love.Just as a husband and wife submit to each other out of love because each has the other's interests in mind, so our love for Christ is to be actively seeking the fulfillment of his will.Jesus did not say "If you love me, you better do what I say, or else." He simply says, "If you love me, you will do what I command."

  5. Let's not forget this command…And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)And I would love to meet someone who could truly perform a miracle.

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