If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 14:15

The New Testament is very clear that it is only through God’s great mercy, grace, and love that sinners can be not only forgiven but granted the perfect righteousness of Christ. This is the legal aspect of our salvation. Some people are concerned that if we teach that salvation is a free gift and not something we earn, people will abuse such grace. Even the apostle Paul had to answer that charge and warned first-century Christians not to use their “freedom to indulge the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:13, NIV).

But there is also a spiritual aspect to salvation, the new birth. Paul wrote, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16, NIV). Those who respond to God’s gracious offer of salvation receive both of these legal and spiritual provisions of God. Jesus promised that when He ascended He would “pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). This inner Helper, the Holy Spirit, is the one who enables us to live a life that is pleasing to God. He creates within us the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22-23). He is the one who changes our hearts, our desires, and our motivations. One of the evidences we have been truly born again is that we keep His Word: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:3-5).

Jesus does not want us to obey Him to earn our salvation, but love motivates us to change our behaviour. If I truly love my wife, I will avoid doing things that annoy her; and if my children love me, they will do the things I ask them to do. As John said, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Jesus provides another motivation for His disciples to obey His Word, and that is greater intimacy with the Triune God: “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” (John 14:23). This is not a future hope but a present possibility for enjoying loving fellowship with the Triune God through prayer, worship, meditation upon the Scriptures, and service for Him.


By admin