“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?!