LIVING CORAM DEO
Monday, 11 December, 2017

Love and Obedience

John 14: 15

The uncompromising connection between love for Christ and obedience to Christ repeatedly recurs in John’s writings (cf. vv. 21, 23; 15:14). The linkage approaches the level of definition: ‘This is love for God: to obey his commands’ (1 Jn. 5:3). But what are his ‘commands’? The parallels that tie together ‘what I command’ (v. 15, lit. ‘my commands’), ‘commands’ (v. 21), and ‘my teaching’ (lit. ‘my word’ in v. 23, and ‘my words’ in v. 24) suggest to some that more is at stake than Jesus’ ethical commands. What the one who loves Jesus will observe is not simply an array of discrete ethical injunctions, but the entire revelation from the Father, revelation holistically conceived (cf. 3:31–32; 12:47–49; 17:6). Nevertheless the plural forms (‘commands’, entolai) likely focus on the individual components of Jesus’ requirements, while the singular ‘teaching’ (logos; cf. notes on 14:23; 17:6) focus on the Christ-revelation as a comprehensive whole. Of course, one of the principal ingredients of this revelation is the obligation Jesus’ followers have under the new covenant to love one another (13:34–35). John sees this as so integrally tied to holistic devotion to God that he can elsewhere say, ‘This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands’ (1 Jn. 5:2).

Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (pp. 498–499). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

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