John 14:15 KJV
If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
Many times when we see this verse, we think it means that if we loved Jesus enough we would do everything right. If we just loved Him enough we would not “break” the law; but honestly, that contradicts other Scripture. God’s word tells us that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5), and it tells us that if God did not do a work in and on our hearts we could not even love Him on our own (Deuteronomy 30:6). We can only love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
The word that keep was translated from is the Hebrew word shamar. This word means to guard, to hedge in as with thorns, keep your eyes on, and hold fast to. The word commandment refers to the Word of God. To “keep His commandments” is to remain focused on the Word, to hedge it in our lives, to guard it, and keep it as our priority.
If we look at this verse (and others like it) incorrectly, then we miss the awesomeness of what God is saying to us. When we love God (because He first loved us) we will guard His Word in our lives, we will keep our eyes on it and we will hold fast to it. Truly understanding His love for us draws us to the Word. What a blessing that is because we need the Word! The Word is what produces faith in our lives and that faith produces living, Spiritual actions (Romans 10:17). Without the Word we could never produce actions that have eternal value!
1 John 5:3 KJV For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
This verse says the love OF God – not love FOR God. The love of God has blessed us with the ability to keep our focus on the Word. His commands are not meant to be a burden; they are the fruit of His love for us and they bless us. The Word, when it is hedged in our lives and focused on, will be a blessing to us and our families. God gave us His Word so that it would go well with us (Deuteronomy 4:40).
God gave us His Word not as a challenge, but as the prescription for life. The Word is the treatment for the flesh; the Word will keep us from indulging in the flesh and living in its fruit. The Word of God is also referred to as “Seed”. The Word of God is the Seed for every Spiritual fruit. Apart from the Word, we are only participating in our flesh and producing its futile fruit. When we are planting the Seed of the word in our lives, then we will enjoy the Spiritual fruit that it produces. God loves us so much that He gave us this Seed. It is not our love for God that enables us to produce fruit of spiritual value; it is His love for us!
It is imperative that we understand that our love for God is the result of His love for us. When we believe that we do “good” things because we love God, we are giving ourselves undeserved credit. We produce Spiritual fruit only because God first loved us. His love for us sent His Son to be our perfect Sacrifice. We now can become one with Christ; we can now take on His nature and leave our flesh for dead. When we truly understand His love for us, we will cling to His love letter – the Word of God. We will see the Word as the life-giving source that it is and we will receive it daily with thanksgiving!
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