Trust and obey For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus Than to trust and obey
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST?
Last time, we discussed the relationship between knowing Christ and loving Christ. Another interesting relationship is found in John 14:15, when Christ says “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.” (Of course, for someone to keep the commands of Christ, he must first know what those commands are, that’s why it’s similar to last week’s post:)
There is an interesting intertwining throughout Scripture of two requirements for followers, or disciples, of Christ. The two requirements found from the Old Testament all the way through the New Testament are to love God, and keep His commands. If a disciple truly does love God, the evidence will be that he keeps God’s commandments. In John 14:15, Christ says “If you love Me, you will keep My commands;” and in John 15:14, Christ says “You are my friends, if you keep my commandments.” These statements by Christ may seem strange to some. It may seem extreme to say that to love Christ is to be obedient to Him. This is, however, repeated throughout Scripture.
The obedient attitude of a disciple should ultimately be a natural result of one’s love for Christ. The Great Shema, the main Old Testament confession of faith in Deuteronomy 6:5, says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The way Israel manifested this love then is later exposited by Moses in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and 11:1 as cheerful obedience to Yahweh’s commandments. Daniel, in pouring his heart out in prayer for his people, begins his prayer, “Ah, Lord—the great and awe-inspiring God, who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands” (Dan. 9:4). Nehemiah begins his prayer echoing Daniel’s words when he addresses God as “Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands” (Neh. 1:5). King David also frequently returned to the theme of loving God and loving His Word (Psalms 18:1; 116:1; 119:97; 119:165).
In the New Testament, it is equally clear that love is the mark of a genuine follower of Christ. Christ reiterates the Shema quoted above when asked what the greatest commandment was (Matt. 22:37). In 1 Corinthians 8:3, Paul writes, “if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.” Later in the same letter, Paul warns, “If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him” (1 Cor. 16:22). James says that only those who love God will receive the crown of life (James 1:12) and inherit the kingdom (James 2:5). John especially weave the themes of love and obedience together in his first epistle. 1 John 3:10 states, “Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother.” Earlier, in 1 John 2:3, John says “This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him: by keeping His commands.” In 1 John 3:24, John says “The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him.” And John later states “For this is what love for God is: to keep His commands” (1 John 5:3).
Do you love Christ? Can others recognize you as a disciple of Christ?
Are you joyfully obedient to Him?