Love for God Requires Obedience

John 14:21-24 ESV

“’Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’”

False Impressions

A lot of people are saying that they love God, but what do they mean by that? Some of them do really love God as is described in this passage of Scripture here, but not all do. Some just have a mushy-gushy feeling about God because of all that they believe he has done for them. And sometimes that feeling about God will then disappear when they feel as though God didn’t do them right, or that he didn’t do as they expected he would.

Many people are being given a false impression of who God is and of who Jesus is, and of the reason for Jesus’ death on that cross, and for his resurrection, because there are many liars and deceivers out there telling them lies and inserting lies cleverly into the truth. Why? For the purpose to deceive in order to lead people away from true faith in Jesus Christ and to keep them enslaved to sin and not living to righteousness.

They are also being fed lies about his love for us and his grace and our salvation and eternal life. For they are picturing God as this doting grandfather (or genie) in the sky there to grant our every request. Or they say that God is just so enamored with us humans that he just can’t get enough of us and he just wants to be with us. Or they say that even if they are engaged in deliberate and habitual sin that God still smiles on them.

And they are being told that all they have to do is acknowledge what Jesus did for us on that cross, or “pray a prayer to receive Christ,” or make a verbal confession of Jesus as Lord and say they believe God resurrected him from the dead and they are saved for eternity. Some of that does come from the Scriptures but is taken out of context and made to say what it does not say. For they then say they don’t have to leave their sins or obey Jesus.

Love and Obedience

But Jesus said that if we love him that we will keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant). And he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And John said that if we say that we know God but we do not keep his commandments that we are liars, and the truth is not in us (John 14:15; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:3-6).

James said that we must be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. And the writer of Hebrews said that Jesus Christ became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Peter said that the elect of God are chosen by God for obedience to Jesus Christ. And Paul said that we are slaves of the one whom we obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness and to eternal life with God (James 1:22; Hebrews 5:9; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 6:16-23).

And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for Jesus’ sake we die with him to sin and we live to him and to his righteousness, then we will have eternal life (Luke 9:23-26; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 8:1-14; Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 6:7-8; 1 John 1:5-9).

So, if we love God we will obey his commandments (New Covenant). We will obey all instructions under the New Covenant directed toward believers in Jesus Christ which teach us that we must die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness, that we must forsake our lives of sin and walk in obedience to our Lord’s commands, and that we must continue in these walks of faith steadfast until the very end to have eternal life with God.

For what Jesus was saying here is that if we do not obey his commands, in practice, but if we continue to live in disobedience to him, that we do not love him. And again, John said that if we say we know him but we do not obey him that we are liars. And Jesus said that if we do not obey him that we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. So, you see, obedience is critical to our salvation from sin and to our eternal life with God.

For listen to Jesus’ words here in John 14. If we obey the Lord’s commands we love him and we will be loved by God the Father and Jesus will love us and will manifest himself to us. And they – God the Father and God the Son – will come to us and make their home with us. So, we are not saved from our sins and promised eternal life with God on a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but we must die to sin daily and walk in obedience to Christ.

[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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