Or is it a combination of these, and can it be true love without the element of obedience? Jesus has a say in this discussion.
In John 16:27 He says: “for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.”
So, what it means to Love Jesus is an important question. Without our love for Jesus He says we will not be loved by the Father. Jesus says that the Fathers Love is predicated upon our love. I don’t know about you but with me the emotion of love is often not what I would hope it would be. I sometimes do not even love myself, especially when I have failed him. Circumstance often dictates our emotion. So what is our love to look like to our Lord? John says in 1 Jn. 4:19, that “we love Him, because He first loved us”. How did He prove His love for and to us? Was it an emotional or Spiritual thing? Did He come down and say “I really do love you son/daughter”. Did He say place your hand in my side? Or was it proven to us by His obedience to a cross and to His Father? He the only begotten Son of the only Father God in Heaven. Without Jesus’ Actions for us on the cross there would have been no perfect sacrifice for our sin. We would still be offering up lambs through a priest. Jesus proved His love for the Father and for us through His obedience on what was the cruelest instrument of torture leading to death in history. Through submitting to the torture in the courtyard, where by His stripes we were healed. Through His grief in the garden, where He said: “my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death” (Matt. 26:38).
So where do we get off by saying that it is legalism to do what Jesus tells us to do to prove our love for Him? “If you love Me you will keep My Commandments. Sorry I can’t do that Jesus. That is just asking too much. I can pray in my closet like you said, but I’d really rather do it in church, You know, in front of people. I can visit the sick, well if it’s not too inconvenient, but I’d really rather not go around where there is all this sickness. I mean, You know, I might catch something.
But if You are asking me, I sure hope You won’t tell me to keep the Sabbath. (Now before we go any further, I need to tell you that I am not a Seventh Day Adventist. Not putting them down, but I’m not trying to convert you to a denomination. Nor am I telling you that you must keep the law to be saved.)
What exactly do we think that our acceptance of this relationship with the Savior of the world and of our/my soul must entail. He came offering a new Covenant in His blood. His promise for any who accept this covenant in Him, is to write His law on our hearts. If His law is being placed inside us, it is there for a purpose. Is that purpose to change our want to? I really want to keep His Commandments. Living for Him means dying to self. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it Holy (Ex. 20:8).
We know that we should not steal, or covet, or murder, or commit adultery. We can at least outwardly keep those things, but the Sabbath, well that is legalism. I’d be laughed out of the church if I suggested that.
Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
Well Jesus this can’t be for the church, I mean this is the law, and we are not under the law.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. (KJV)
Do we really want to be least in the kingdom of heaven? Do you? I would love to hear from you on this one.
This is a very different post than what I’m normally inspired to have you consider, so Lord allow this to speak only to those who You intend for it to speak. I love you Lord, but am I by considering the observance and even teaching the possible observance of the Law becoming your enemy as many today believe and teach? Am I to observe their teaching or Yours LORD?
Did Paul and the other writers of New Covenant scripture really teach us to not keep the commandments? I will be exploring that next time.