John 15.9-10 warns us to remain in Jesus’ love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
If I must remain in God’s love am I not working my way to heaven, the antithesis of orthodox Christianity? Of course not for we cannot even know God until He reveals Himself to us. God must draw us to Himself for us to have a relationship with Him. In addition, He must supply the power and Person we need to remain in that relationship.
By His love, mercy and grace He does give us His Spirit to reside within us in order to keep us both as the promise and the power to do as He commands. Yet we must do as He commands.
At no time in our history, either at birth or at our new birth, does God make us machines who simply respond as we are programmed. We always have a choice to respond to God and respond appropriately we must if we are to remain in His love.
What then is His command that I must obey to remain in His love? All of His commands must be obeyed but they are summarized in this one thing: love one another.
God furthers His discussion of obedience in this section by simply telling us to love one another. This one thing the Father demands of His children to remain in His family: love one another.
This is both easy and impossible. All God asks of us is for us to love one another. Loving people is not asking so much of us is it?
When we think of family and good friends we might say I can do this. Yet these are the very people we say and do the most awful things to. It is these people whom we struggle to forgive, to overlook an offense, and to serve without measure.
Then there is the rest of humanity who constantly demonstrate their inability to drive, shop, work, cooperate, serve, etc. Loving people is most likely the hardest requirement God could give us.
This impossibility of loving as He loves because He is love is what causes us to remain in His love as we seek Him to love through us so that we can remain in His love to us. As we need God to breath and to initiate a relationship with Him so too we need Him to obey Him. We are entirely dependent upon Him for our life and our life to come.
Yet with Him, we must choose to love others no matter the cost to ourselves for He loved us at the ultimate cost to Himself.
If we refuse to love others we refuse to remain in God’s love and if we refuse His love we ultimately choose to live forever without God and without love.