Remember to think of Christ rightly because a bruised reed He will not break. Very often Christian who doesn’t have a right understanding of the Gospel puts Him forth as a hard master—as One that condemns and punishes: “Go and sin no more! If you love Me, keep my commandments!” Satan also assaults struggling Christians by transforming Christ before them into an angel of darkness. If he can’t get you to deny and forsake Him, then he will most certainly influence you to think of Christ wrongly.
So how do we think of Christ rightly? By rightly dividing the word of truth. To give an example, John [14:15], “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” This is not a threat but most Christians see it as such. Christ has given us many parables to teach us that our good works flow out of a heart transformed by the Gospel. We love Him because He first loved us. She loved much because she was forgiven much. The Gospel in the parable of the money lender is what motivates us to do good works! Yet for some strange reasons we forget all that when we come to John [14:15]. How quickly and easily we forget the Gospel when it comes to growth in holiness. Jesus shows us what He meant down in V.31, “that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do.” The Son did what His Father commanded so that the world may know that the Son loves the Father. It is here we have a right and proper understanding of submission and obedience: Love produces a desire to obey. We obey because we love.
There is a sense in which a person can obey and not love. The Pharisees obeyed perfectly but there was no love of God in them. That’s not the kind of obedience God is looking for. The key is not outward obedience since God looks at the heart. Sacrifices and burnt offerings means nothing if the heart is not right. This is why the Gospel is important. We see that in Colossians [1:3-11], quoting the NLT for clarity, V.6:, “This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.” Notice that they heard and knew (understood) the grace of God. That’s what produces obedience from the heart (Romans 6:17).
If I can paraphrase it, “If you love Me, and I know that you do, keep my commandments. So that the world may know that you love Me. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” To Peter Jesus asks, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter knew that Jesus knew, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
The heart of His people hunger and thirst for righteousness. When He says, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” Our heart will say, “Your commandments will we keep, O Lord, because we love You.”