Monday, July 13, 2009

Be fruitful, obedient love

I plan to elaborate on this theme later, but for now just some brief thoughts.

Let's look at John 15, but before we get there let's grab one thing from Jn 14:21 "Whoever has my commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

First let me say that I don't imagine I could please everyone with an explanation even if it was flawless, why? Scars! Defining biblical words by past experiences. This always leads down that ugly path of over-reaction, which leads if not to heresy then to undo isolation. As others have fought against the use of 'slave' in scripture because they have chosen to define that word by experience and not by God. Words like 'Lord', like 'submit', even 'Father' have suffered at the hands of over-sensitive well intentioned people. Well one word that many like to translate in a very unique way is 'obey' (obedience) or 'command', for some this word chokes them up, they are immediately brought back to some awful experiences in a church or even at home. Yet can it be that they need to crucify such scars, in order to cherish all the word? Even under the old covenant, the Psalms present a view of the law, the commands as something which has 'delight'.
Obedience is a biblical word for New Testament believers, a word which must NOT be confused. What is the proper connection of this love-obedience? Well what Jesus makes absolutely clear in this chapter is that there is NO love where there is NO obedience. The process of this love-obedience goes like this.
We obey Him because we love Him and we love Him because He FIRST loved us. Obedience then is the NATURAL response to the LOVE that God has poured out upon us. The REALITY is that we ARE loved and the EFFECT is that we OBEY.
Now John 15
2...... every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear MORE fruit.
There is such a thing as bearing MORE fruit, this is a GREATER response to what is a REALITY.
5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
This abiding has MUCH to do with realizing our dependency on Christ, and it's more than what IS, but also something we must fight to pursue.
6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
Yet the wicked don't EVER abide in Christ
7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, our requests actually become more in line with Christ's desires and consequently our prayers are answered more frequently
8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Obedience is a testimony to God, to His greatness and His merciful power in transforming you, His mark of regeneration is undeniable.
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Believers are covered by the blood of Jesus, His merit (worth) is so glorious that it is in fact imputed to us, we ARE loved perfectly without limit.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
The more we understand the love of God, the more we are motivated by love to obey Him. We don't find rest in the battle against sin, we find rest FROM the battle to achieve something (God's love) we already have.
11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
As Jesus was always full of joy because he fully responded to the reality of God's love, so He desires us to know AND experience this REALITY.
Though we are perfectly loved in the sight of God we do in fact actually seek to perfectly obey. Though we are loved perfectly and stand fully justified without fear of God's wrath, yet we still treble knowing we shall be judged by our actions (now that's hard to grasp-hence the need to NEVER blur justification and sanctification).
Though we stand under the banner of His perfect love never have to slavishly fall into a legalism that seeks to EARN God's favor, yet we do make it our AIM to please Him and to NOT grieve the Holy Spirit.
Eph 3:
16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


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