“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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. John 15:9-10
One of the reasons people suggest that the exchanged life teaching or the broader message of grace is passive is because we talk about being rather than doing. We actually use words like “rest” and “trust” and mean them. I know that makes some people uncomfortable, particularly those driven by guilt or a desire to make points with God. But the ideas of trusting in the Lord for all our needs and resting in His amazing and generous provision run throughout the Bible.
How can we be sure that it is enough to trust in the Lord? How can we know that we are not under the condemnation of the law and the requirements of the rules? How can we rest? By abiding in His love!
We are called—commanded—to abide in the love of Jesus. What does that mean? Well, camp there! Be stuck there forever! Stay in His love and don’t stray from it. Reside in His love like you would reside in your home. Hide in His love like you would find protection in a strong tower. Stop in His love and no longer run around in fear or anxiety without security. Let your place of abiding be in Him. Never take one step without the certain knowledge of His love.
What peace would you find if you knew without doubt that the Lord loved you fully and freely? What joy would you walk in if you walked in the security and certainty of His love? Would you breathe a sigh of relief and begin to understand what rest truly is?
But what do we do with the second part of the passage, the part that seems to suggest we will only abide in His love if we keep His commands? Well, let’s do this quickly. First, notice that there is a parallel here. If we keep the commands, we will abide in His love—just as Jesus keeps His Father’s commands and abides in the Father’s love. So, are we to assume that Jesus only abides in the Father’s love because He keeps the Father’s commands? Is the obedience of Jesus the cause of the Father’s love? Is it even a prerequisite for the Father’s love? Is it appropriate for us to think of Jesus separate from the Father’s love in any way or for any reason?
No, no, and no! Jesus and the Father love each other from the beginning and their love will never lessen. It is contingent on nothing. It is fact, eternal fact, and will never change. That love is one of the certain points on which all truth is based.
So the love Jesus has for you is like this. He loves you and will always love you and His love is not based on what you do. It is based on who you are. That is eternal fact, just the same as the eternal fact of the Father’s love for the Son. That’s the parallel Jesus wanted us to see.
The little word “if” makes us think that this is cause and effect. If you do this, then you will get that. But the point is that we already have that. So now what does the “If” indicate? It simply tells us of the connection. Just as Jesus always does His Father’s will and enjoys His Father’s love, so you will do the will of Jesus and enjoy His love. Your life will be what He wants it to be.
But, but, but. . . my life isn’t really as good as it ought to be. No, but it is—in Jesus. He is the righteousness of God in us. He accomplishes the perfect will of God in us. He makes us what we ought to be. He does this.
There are two primary commands of Jesus. Love God and love each other. Everything boils down to those. You can’t do either of them. But He does them in you. If the love of Jesus is contingent upon us loving God and loving each other, then we will never experience the love of Jesus. But if the love of Jesus will bring about the love of God and the love of each other in us, then we will find that He is sufficient for all our needs. He is our holiness, our righteousness, our peace.
So, set up permanent camp in the love of Jesus! Trust that His love will be your eternal home. Abide in His love.