“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me…” Wait a minute, is Jesus saying that we must earn God’s love by being “good?” The short answer is NO – but let’s take a closer look to understand what exactly this verse is saying.
Remember that in studying God’s Word, we always want to look at Scripture in light of Scripture. Ephesians 2: 8-9 says that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and not that of yourselves.” So, there’s no doubt that we are saved by faith alone. But there’s also no doubt that we demonstrate that faith in how we live and walk in obedience to God’s will. James 2:17 puts it this way: “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Think about it this way: as a devoted parent, you love your children no matter what they do. If they disobey or make a poor decision, you still love them. But when that child consistently obeys you and takes your words and direction to heart, that means even more! Why? Because that child is saying, “I trust you enough to do what you’re asking me to do.”
It’s the same way with God. God loves all of us, even when we ignore His Word and choose to live outside His will for our lives. But walking in obedience to God’s Word and will – well, God surely loves that more. But don’t miss this: God’s love is NOT determined by our actions whether “good” or “bad.” However, when we live and walk in obedience to Him, we’re demonstrating our faith in that we really do trust Him; we really do love Him!