John 15:9-11 NIV
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
This love being spoken about here is not human love. It is god-like love which prefers what God prefers (which chooses his choices).
For God the Father, he chose to send his Son Jesus Christ to be our sacrifice for our sins so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin and now become slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
And this is because God is love and he is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, i.e., that all should turn away from their sinful lifestyles to now follow Jesus in walks of obedience to his ways.
So, the love he is talking about here is self-sacrificial, not selfish, and it considers the legitimate needs of others, even at the sacrifice of one’s own comfort, and even at the cost of rejection and persecution and even death. And it loves even if that love is returned with hate from others.
So, this is how God/Jesus loved/loves us, and we are to remain in that love. So that means we are to remain in freedom from slavery to sin and in now becoming slaves of God and of his righteousness. And we are to remain in choosing God’s choices, preferring to live through Christ, and embracing God’s will for our lives.
And how do we remain in his love? By keeping his commandments. And what commandments are those? They are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. For, he said, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
But that isn’t all. Any commandments Jesus gave to his disciples that were not just for them specifically but could/should be applied for all of us disciples, and all commandments given under the New Covenant that were penned by the apostles and the writers of the New Testament books, too, that were for the church in general, are commandments we need to obey.
For example, Jesus told his disciples they had to obey the Pharisees but they were not to do what they did. So, here we obey the principle of the commandment which is that we are to obey those in positions of authority over us but we are not to participate with them in their evil deeds. We don’t have to disobey God to obey them, in other words.
Also, where Jesus said if we want to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin) and follow (obey) him, that is for all of us to obey. Where Paul said we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want eternal life with God, we must obey that. Where he says if we obey sin it ends in death, we need to take that to heart.
John 15:12-15 NIV
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
So, we must love each other as Jesus loved/loves us. So, we sacrifice our lives, not on a literal cross, and not to provide salvation from sin, but in dying with Christ to sin and in living to Christ and to his righteousness. And we sacrifice our lives by sharing the gospel of our salvation with others so that they can be delivered from their slavery to sin, and so they can become slaves of God and of his righteousness.
For, just as they hated Jesus for the things he said and did when he walked the earth, they will hate us for the same things if our lives are modeled after Christ’s, and if we love others truly as he loved us and gave himself up for us for our freedom from our bondage (addiction) to sin.
So, if we are people who always say “nice” things to people to make them feel good about themselves, even in their sin, and even though they are headed straight to hell, but we won’t confront them with their sin or call them to repentance or to obedient faith in Jesus Christ, then that is not love, although many people will call it love.
For, love does not lie to people or deceive them or withhold the truth from them out of a selfish motive to be liked by them. They may think you are wonderful in this life, but when they stand before God, they won’t. The best thing and the most loving thing we can do for others is to tell them the truth that is essential to their lives for eternity.
Now regarding these terms “servants” and “friends,” this is not saying that we are no longer to serve the Lord or that we are not to be slaves (servants) of God and of his righteousness. For Jesus bought us back for God with his blood that we might be God’s possession and so we would honor God with our lives. “Lord” means he is our master and we are his bondservants.
The point of what Jesus is saying here, I believe, is that if we obey the Lord, and we do what he commands, then that puts us in a position with him that we are now his friends, and not merely servants. It shows there is an intimacy now in that relationship between us and our Lord because we obey him and we do what he says.
John 15:16-17 NIV
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
This is true! We did not choose God, but he chose us. We cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws (persuades) us to come to Jesus. And if we are persuaded by God, we will submit to Christ as Lord, we will humble ourselves and become obedient to him, and we will forsake our sinful lifestyles in order to follow Jesus with our lives.
And Jesus didn’t sacrifice his life for us on that cross just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die. Our salvation from sin is not carte blanche to keep living in sin! Jesus appointed us to go and bear fruit that will last for eternity. He called us to obedience, and we were created in Christ Jesus to good works which God prepared in advance for us that we might walk (in practice) in them (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:11-14; Gal 6:7-8).
So, if we love God, and if we love others with god-like love, we are going to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, we are not going to sin willfully against others, especially habitually, and we are going to share the truth of the gospel with all who will listen so that they can be delivered from their bondage to sin, too, and have eternal life with God.
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.