“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:10)
Today’s verse comes in the middle of the vine and the branches parable urging us to abide in Christ. We were designed to connect to God and we need to receive spiritual nourishment from him to grow and live.
Christianity is all about love and relationship to some. To others, it’s really all about rules and regulations with lip service paid to Christ’s atonement for our breaking the rules and regulations in the past.
What we actually have is a divine paradox. Love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus told us is the aim of the law and the prophets. The commandment is a tool teaching us how to properly relate to one another. If we forsake the truth and throw out the commandment, our love is nothing but a demonic counterfeit.
Jesus paid the whole debt for sin on the cross. Our works are filthy rags. We cannot keep the law sufficiently on our own. We obey not to save ourselves, but in gratitude that he has saved us, because we love and trust him. He has to do the work. We need his transforming grace and power flowing through our hearts to walk as Jesus walked, especially in those areas where our fallen flesh is weak.
In verse eleven, Jesus tells us he spoke said verse ten and the ones preceding it so our joy may be full. If your reading of this text brings condemnation and despair, then you’re reading it wrong. God’s desire is for you to abide in him and in his love and to keep the commandment. He won’t lower his standards to accommodate your weakness, but he will raise you up to meet them by strengthening you and renewing you in your mind.
Trust God’s commandment. He designed you. He, not the world, knows who he created you and fashioned you to be–and it is *not* a sinner of any sort, no matter how attractive that sin might be to you. It is not who you are. Embrace the commandment. Accept by faith who God says you really are meant to be and who he is willing to restore you to being over the course of this earthly life. It can be really tough down here, but if we hold on, one day, we will shed the sinful, corrupt flesh and put on our incorruptible Heavenly bodies.