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'If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments' John 14:15 Meaning

As Christians, we have a duty to obey God's commands. It's not always easy to love everyone, and we're one of those people who are hard to love sometimes. God's Word says we should love people to reveal His ultimate love.

Christianity.com Contributing Writer
Updated Oct 03, 2022
'If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments' John 14:15 Meaning

"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever" ~ John 14:15-16

In today’s reality, love is not an overarching theme. In fact, the state of our world is revealed by divisiveness, animosity, and chaos. Wars, pandemics, political divisions arise, and it seems as if the world has forgotten about love.

The truth is that these struggles of today have also been the struggles of what we read in the Bible but in a different time and context.

However, unlike today’s world, the Bible does have an overarching theme of "love." In the name of love, God sacrificed His own Son in order to allow us to stay with Him forever.

Why We Should Keep Christ's Commandments

Love, according to the Bible, may not always be present today, but it should always be the goal. Our goal should always be to promote love in everything, and we can do that by keeping God’s commandments.

This leads us to the question, can we love Jesus without keeping His commandments? Or is loving Christ tantamount to also keeping what he was commanded? The answer is already obvious but let us try to discuss why keeping Jesus’ commands is also loving Him.

1. To Demonstrate Our Love for God

Keeping Jesus’ commandments is demonstrating our love for God. If we read the New Testament well, we already know that there was no specific mention by Jesus of the 10 Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai in Deuteronomy.

When the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus in Matthew 22:34-40, they were attempting to get Jesus to admit his teachings were false. So, they asked Jesus which commandment, given to them by Moses, was the most important.

He responded, "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength." There is no greater commandment: "love your neighbor as yourself." All 10 Commandments are based on loving God and loving others.

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." ~ Matthew 22:36-40

Many of Jesus' commands about love are found in the New Testament. Jesus tells his disciples in John 13:34 to love one another. Later, in John 14:15, he says, "If you love me, keep my commandments."

His last words to His friends focused on love while He shared a meal with them. Jesus did not take these commands lightly. It is necessary to keep God's commandments in order to demonstrate the disciples' love for God.

Jesus talked about God's calling for each of their lives, as well as ours. This was His preparation for His absence. It meant He wouldn't be physically there, but He told them to continue to love others to reflect God's love.

2. To Demonstrate Our Love for Jesus’ Teachings

Keeping Jesus’ commands is showing our love for His teachings. As a teacher, Jesus demonstrated God's love by loving others. We should do the same.

"Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." ~ 1 John 2:4-6

We can read in the Bible a specific example where Jesus demonstrates this. During his first journey, Jesus takes His disciples to a town of outcasts, hated by everyone else. As if it were a disease, Jews avoided Samaria.

The reason they hated each other was their religion. Jewish people avoided interaction with Samaria due to opposing beliefs, so they took the longer route around it. It was not permitted for Samaritans to attend the festivals at the synagogue in Jerusalem.

Toward the outskirts of the town, Jesus sits down to draw water from the well of Jacob. It was built by Jacob, one of the Patriarchs of Judaism, and therefore is its namesake.

An ostracized Samaritan woman, also shunned by her village, waits for the God Jacob worshiped to make her a promise. From six different men, she'd gotten the wrong kind of love. By talking to her and treating her nicely, Jesus intended to show her the love of God.

Her life didn't get any better with the water she brought from the well. She needed Jesus' cleansing water from the inside out. He showed the woman at the well the love God had for her.

She shared the same love with everyone in town. If we obey God's command to love others, we show our love for God by having an overflowing love for everyone. Anyone can feel God's love no matter what their background is.

This example tells us that keeping His commandments means showing that we have faith in what is written. The woman was faithful that something good will come to her because she has kept her faith.

3. To Serve God Despite Sin

Keeping the commandments is serving God despite our sins. We can learn from Jesus and how He served the disciples despite their sins. He demonstrated His love for them in a way no one would ever do. Jesus did this by cleansing their feet.

During that time, servants weren't even allowed to wash their feet. Jesus did this as a metaphor to show his love and willingness to gently care for them.  In spite of their filth, Jesus washed their feet anyway. Because He loves us, Jesus cares for our filthiest parts without hesitation.

We must realize that Jesus sees our dirty sin in the same way He saw Samaritan woman's sins and chose to love her regardless of it. As a result, we should be willing to humbly demonstrate that same love to each other, no matter how different we are or how far apart we are.

4. To Express Love Through His Commandments

There is no doubt that Christ's command to love others is clear. "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments." In other words, if you don't love me, you don't love God.

John 14:16 says, Jesus will ask the Father and he will give us another Counselor to be with us forever when we obey God by loving others. He is the Spirit of truth.

In Jesus’ absence, as we reflect the love of God to those around us, we will receive the Holy Spirit to guide our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we continue to fulfill the calling God has given each of us, loving others with the abundance of love God has given us.

It is possible to love those who disagree with our political views with the help of the Holy Spirit. The most difficult people to treat with kindness can receive God's love from us. In this way, we are reflecting God's love to those who feel the least loved, fulfilling God's purpose in our lives.

Not a Chore but a Desire

As Christians, we have a duty to obey God's commands. It's not always easy to love everyone. And we're one of those people who are hard to love sometimes. God's Word says we should love people for their sake.

The ultimate act of love was when His Son gave His life as a punishment for the sins of the world.

In being a sacrifice for all of us, he loved especially those who would be difficult to love, those who committed crimes, those who opposed our political convictions, and those who were contrary to our morals and values.

In spite of our differences and opposition, Jesus's death enables us to live in peace.

For further reading:

Can Nothing Really Separate Us from the Love of God?

What Temperature Does Our Love Need to Be?

What Is the Difference Between Obedience and Legalism?

Why Did God Have to Give His People the 10 Commandments?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/paseven


Glory Dy has been a content creator for more than 10 years. She lives in a quiet suburb with her family and four cats.

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