BY DAVE STEEL
Obedience to Christ is the most reliable evidence of our saving faith in him. As the apostle John put it, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands” (1 John 2:3). Our obedience to Christ signifies a sincere faith in our hearts. This was the point of my previous blog post. But that’s not all our obedience reveals about our heart.
Just as obedience to Christ reveals our faith in him, it also reveals our love for him.
The New Testament has plenty to say about this. Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15) and “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. . . . Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching” (John 14:23-24). D. A. Carson refers to this as “the uncompromising connection between love for Christ and obedience to Christ.” Jesus modeled this obedience-producing love when he said, “I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31).
The apostle John describes this love-obedience connection with crystal clarity: “This is love for God: to keep his commands” (1 John 5:3) and “This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands” (2 John 6). There’s no missing John’s point here: to love God is to obey him.
So we should ask ourselves, “Do I, in my heart of hearts, desire to be conformed to the will of Christ? Am I drawn to his instructions? Do I want to obey him?
If so, rejoice! You’ve come to know and love the One who first loved us and gave himself for us. You belong to him!
Since this is the case, let’s revel in our obedience to Christ. Let’s be quick to be reconciled to one another (Matt. 5:24), eager to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44-45), vigilant to reject self-righteousness (Matt. 6:1), committed to seeking his kingdom and rejecting our worrisome distractions (Matt. 6:33-34).
For that matter, let’s help one another obey everything Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:19-20) and let it be known that we love him and desire that others might come to love him too. This is what it means to be and to make disciples.
D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1991), 498.