Jesus tells His disciples in the Gospel of John, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (15:9). It is clear from Jesus’ words that He is telling His disciples to remain in His love. What Jesus told His disciples during His earthly ministry still echoes to us today. All Christians are told to remain in Jesus’ love, but why?
What Does Christ Mean by "Remain in My Love"?
Prior to Jesus’ statement in John 15:9, Jesus was telling His disciples the parable of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-8). The Lord taught His disciples that He is the true vine, the Father is the gardener, and His followers are the branches (John 15:1-5).
He tells His disciples that if they remain in Him, they will bear much fruit, but if they do not remain in Him, they can do nothing (John 15:5-8). What Jesus tells His disciples still applies to us today.
If we remain in Christ, we will grow to be beautiful branches that bear much fruit; however, if we deny God and rebel against Him, we will not bear fruit. When Jesus speaks about bearing fruit, He is not talking about physical, literal fruit. The fruit Jesus speaks about is the good things we do because we know Him. If we are true believers, it will show in our actions.
Jesus tells us that a person can be recognized by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). Just like how a branch has to remain with the vine in order to grow, we must remain with Christ. Likewise, Jesus tells us to remain in His love (John 15:9).
The Lord tells us that just as the Father has loved Him, He loves us with the same love. The love Jesus has for us is agape love. Agape love is unconditional and never changing. The love Jesus has for us will never fade away or diminish.
When Jesus tells us to remain in His love, He is telling us to rest in the knowledge of His love for us. As soon as we have placed faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us. His indwelling is permanent, and He never leaves us.
The Holy Spirit can remind us of Jesus’ love and fill our hearts with the overflowing agape love of God. As beautifully articulated by writer Emma Danzey, “His Holy Spirit is the constant gift of His presence” (Ibid.). Jesus wants us to remember to rest in His love and abide in Him. Remaining in Jesus’ love will affect our entire beings.
Abiding in Jesus’ love will result in resting in the knowledge of His love as well as Christians actively living out His love. Living out Jesus’ love means obeying His commands and teachings. The Lord tells us that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John 14:15).
Obedience to God is the true hallmark of loving Jesus (John 15:14). Jesus tells us we should extend the love He has given to us to others. Speaking on these matters, Jesus says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Similarly, the Lord says all people will know we are His disciples if we love one another, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Loving others can be difficult, but it is what God commands of us.
The Lord loves all people, and we should too. Christians have to intentionally choose to love others as love is a choice. Love does not have to be based on how you feel about a person.
Rightly stated by C. S. Lewis, we do not have to like somebody in order to love them, “They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.”
In other words, you can love somebody without liking them. Remaining in Christ’s love is more than resting in the knowledge of His love for us, but it is also living out this same love to our fellow brothers and sisters.
The Bible tells us we cannot truly love God if we hate our brothers and sisters (1 John 4:20). Jesus calls us to be light-bearers in this dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). A Christian can only shine their light brightly by extending Jesus’ love to other believers as well as to the lost.
The Lord calls all Christians to go out and make disciples of all nations regardless of gender, ethnicity, or social status (Matthew 28:18-20). The truest act of love for others is helping them know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Why Is it Important to Remain in Christ's Love?
Remaining in Christ’s love will result in a life devoted to serving God. In the analogy of the vine and the branches, Jesus tells us we can do nothing without Him (John 15:4-5). In our own abilities, we cannot live out the Christian life. If we try to be “a good Christian” through our own strength, we will fail.
We have to have the Holy Spirit working in us in order to bear the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christians need to be active in prayer with God, Bible reading, and spending time with other believers in order to grow.
Jesus is clear that we have to remain in Him in order to grow, bear fruit, and shine brightly for Him. The more time we spend reading the Bible, speaking with Him, and listening to Him, the more we will abide in His perfect love. As we remain in Christ’s love, His love will bubble up within our souls and will pour out to others in our lives.
People will not be able to ignore the love of God in our lives. Abiding in Christ’s love will bring us lasting joy that nobody can take away. God’s desire is for you to remain in His perfect love. He does not want you to drift away or become calloused to His abundant love.
If Christians do not abide in Christ’s love, their road will only end in destruction. There are great dangers when a person chooses to not remain in Jesus’ love. The Lord tells us, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6).
Why Does This Matter?
This very day you can choose whether or not you will intentionally remain in Christ’s love. If you choose to remain in Jesus’ love by acknowledging His love for you and living His love out to others, you will find happiness, joy, and you will bear much fruit for Christ.
On the other hand, if you choose to not remain in Christ’s love, you will be headed down a one-way road to destruction, turmoil, and pain. Anyone who does not remain in Jesus’ love will not bear good fruit for God’s glory (John 15:5-8). The Lord wants you to remain in His love and live out the love He has shown you to others. The decision is yours.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.