John 15:9-10(NKJV) 9“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
This week we are studying Jesus’ words from John 15. In this chapter, he points out that there is no greater love that a human being can have for another than to lay down his life. That is exactly what Jesus did for us. In relation to this action on Jesus’ part, we are called to glorify the Father. We do this by reflecting the Lords nature in our earth walk.
Jesus tells us that to glorify the Father we must produce fruit. God desires us to live fruitful lives. To produce this fruit we must learn to abide in Jesus’ love for us. If we abide in the vine, we have the life of the vine flowing through us and we will manifest that life by bearing the fruit it produces. An apple tree produces apples because apple life flows through the tree. We will produce manifestations of eternal life if the life of the vine is flowing through our spirit to the world.
How can we abide in the vine? We must abide in the word of God and allow the word of God to abide, or live, in us. We must abide in the love of God. We must allow the love of God to change us. We must be conformed to the love of God. This means we begin to see ourselves as God sees us through his love. It also means we must begin to see others though the eyes of the love of God. As we abide in the love of God, we will find that this love is a supernatural force that is bringing change to each of us in very real and personal ways.
How do I know if I am abiding in the love of God? Jesus gives us a simple test. If we keep his commandments, we are abiding in his love. If we do not keep his commandments, we are not abiding in his love. It is that simple. We have spent a great deal of time in this space point out the fact that all of the commandments and the prophets can be summed up in two commandments. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. If we make these two commandments a priority, we will keep the rest of the commandments. Does this mean we can ignore the rest of the law? No, it does not.
In the book of Romans, Paul gives us some insight into this question. Paul was a grace man. He understood the grace of God deeply because he was a recipient of that grace. Paul, who had been known as Saul, persecuted the church. He caused believers to be imprisoned and even killed. He did those things thinking he was serving God.
When he found that he was wrong and that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah promised in scripture, he was crushed by his behavior. He understood that it was the grace of God that had cleansed him of such deep sin. He understood it was this grace that brought him into personal relationship with the God he had studied his whole life. He knew that if God could forgive him, God could forgive anyone.
As a result, he said a number of things that, taken out of context, could indicate that it did not matter if we kept the law or not. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul says that all things are lawful to him. If you take this statement out of context, you could conclude that there is nothing sinful and behavior does not matter. In Romans 14:14 he says that he is convinced nothing is unclean of itself. Again, a person so inclined could conclude that grace means we can sin without consequence. However, that is not what Paul is saying at all.
The true revelation of grace is not that we can sin without consequence. The true revelation of grace is that Jesus died for us no matter how great the sin. It is not that we excuse ourselves of wrongdoing; it is that we forgive others as he forgave us. That is what Paul is talking about. In both of these situations, he tells us that it is love that must rule. We should refrain from certain behaviors because of our love for others. We should forgive them because Jesus by grace forgave us.
Here is another quote from Paul that is in response to the accusation that Paul preached that a Christian could do sinful things without consequence.
Romans 6:1-2(NKJV) 1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
We are not excused from keeping the rest of the commandments if we keep the commandment of love. It is by keeping the commandment of love that we are able to keep all other commandments. If we are not keeping those commandments, we are not abiding in the love of God.
Let me share one more scripture with you today.
Romans 13:8-10(NKJV) 8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
If I love my neighbor, I will not sin against him. If I love God, I will not do anything that would displease him and go against his nature. The Ten Commandments in particular are the expression of God’s nature. Love is the fulfillment of the law, not permission to break the law.
I am not abiding in love if I am committing adultery. I may say that I am free in the grace of God but I am not free at all. Grace is an aspect of God’s love. I cannot be walking in grace if I commit adultery because I am not abiding in the love of God. The same can be said of murder, thievery, fornication, or coveting. In some way, all of those things will hurt either another person or God himself. If I keep the two great commandments, I can do none of these things.
Love is not the exclusion of the law. It is the perfect fulfillment of the law. It is absolute freedom because there is no greater freedom than to know in your heart that you owe no one anything but love.
Examine your life today. Are there areas of sin still hanging on to you? Apply the law of love. Ask the Lord to show you how that area is hurting God or someone else. You will find it is much easier to put that thing out of your life if you let the love of God rule in your heart