To Love Him Is To Obey Him
September 27, 2010
Last week a young man got off the train and stopped beside me. “Thank you for what you’re doing,” he said, referring to my signs and tracts. In talking with him for a few minutes, I found that he knew Scripture. He also agreed with me about the importance of keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world (James 1:27) and in showing that our deeds confirm our faith. (2:22, 24) However, when I asked him to tell me how his own spiritual walk was going, this guy said that it was good, and that though he knew he was living in a sinful situation (living with his girlfriend and baby), he also knew that God is gracious and forgiving, and that since he believes in “once-saved, always-saved”, he felt he was doing well.
How strange… Had we not just been quoting to each other several verses from the book of James? Had we not just been discussing obedience to God and His Word? Had we not spoken of Jesus, the perfect example we all are to follow? But this guy suddenly switched belief when the discussion changed from abstract to personal. Suddenly, it really did not matter to him what God’s commands are, for to him, they are wonderful, yet not necessary to be obeyed. I know… –I’m shaking my head even now, trying to figure out his mentality. –That God’s commands are important… but not important. Something like that.
Let me try to get this straight. The guy believes Scripture, thinks it’s great, thinks it to be the Truth, believes it is to be obeyed, but… doesn’t believe he absolutely has to obey it. And why? His stated reasoning went something like this: “I’m saved because I believe in Jesus. I also believe in ‘once-saved, always-saved’. Otherwise Jesus would have to die more than once.”
Sad. Sad reasoning. Faulty reasoning. Non-sensical reasoning. And futile.
But… it’s typical reasoning of many, many, many, many…. –everywhere. Including within “Christianity”.
What strange mentalities… To pretend to embrace God’s Word as a wonderful thing, yet to care less about obeying it.
Well, here’s a few things Jesus says in God’s Word:
“If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” (John 8:31) And who was Jesus addressing? The beginning of the verse says, “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said…” Does it matter if someone believes Jesus and His teachings? Not exactly. There has to be belief and adherence, for as Jesus says in verse 32, this will bring about the knowledge of the Truth and Truth is what sets one free.
Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” Again, in verse 23: “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.” Verse 24: “He who does not love Me will not obey my teaching.” Jesus in 15:10: “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love…” So, if someone does not obey Jesus’ commands, is that person “remaining” in Jesus’ love? Through simple logical reasoning the answer is easily arrived at: No.
Does it matter if someone claims to have unfailing love if he is not obeying Jesus’ commands / teachings? Jesus answers this in 14:21: “Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.” So, the claim can be a lie; for only obedience proves love. Will a person who doesn’t prove he loves Jesus by obeying His commands, be loved by Jesus and the Father? Well, let’s use logic again in reading the rest of verse 21: “He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him…”
And let me finish this verse: “… and show Myself to him.” Jesus will show Himself to the one who loves Him. Will He show Himself to the one who does not love Him, does not obey Him? No, He will not. Jesus is making contrasts: The ones who love Him versus the ones who do not. How does Jesus determine the difference? –Obedience.
We cannot belong to Christ without obedience to Him. As Jesus says once again in 15:14, “You are My friends if you do what I command.” No, no, don’t let someone say “friends” of Christ must obey, but “servants” can get off more easily. Turn to Matt. 24:48-51 and see what happens to the disobedient servant. Yea… –he is assigned “a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (v. 51)
Jesus states this love/obedience concept plainly in John 8:42: “If God were your Father, you would love Me…” Again, using logic, can we say that if someone does not love Jesus (consequently, does not obey Him), that God is not that person’s Father? We can. In fact, Jesus goes even further in verse 44: “You belong to your father, the devil…” How does He say this is proved? He tells us in the rest of the verse: “… and you want to carry out your father’s desire.” Which is what? Murder… lies… “not holding to the Truth” (v. 44 still)… In other words, sin, rebellion, disobedience.
It is very distressing to realize, but this nice-seeming guy I met downtown, plus multitudes of others like him who think they love Jesus and God’s Word, because of their careless lack of adherence to what they say they believe, are in for a very horrible shock.