March 4: The Indwelling Life of Christ Comes by Obedience to Christ’s Command- Believe.

We’ve been seeing from John 14 that Jesus is both equal to and yet dependent upon the Father. This is because he is both divine and human. In his humanity, Jesus lived from complete dependency upon the Father. Beyond this, we have seen in John 14, that Jesus will send the Spirit to manifest the his life to us, his disciples. Now, we too must live our lives dependent upon Christ, just as he lived dependent upon the Father.

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Before we move from John 14 to John 15, let’s look at one more connection that Jesus makes for us as it concerns living from his indwelling life by the Spirit: we receive the indwelling Spirit through obedience to Christ’s commands.

John 14:21. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”  23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 

Now, stay with me- this is NOT teaching salvation by works.

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To understand this, we have to understand what John and Jesus mean when the word “commandments” is used or when he says “keep my word.”

Frederick Bruner, in his commentary on John, points out that the commands of Jesus are       “his twin invitations to believe him and to love one another- in short to want to be                  Christians in our hearts. These simple commands are not onerous conditions. Rather,            they are exciting privileges, that our Gift, the Holy Spirit, our True Friend, helps us to            take seriously as we accept them simply and undeservedly.”

Bruner is essentially pointing out that to keep Jesus’ commandment, and to keep his word, is to simply have faith. Look at how 1 John summarizes it:

1 John 3:23. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

So we are saved by faith. To have faith is to obey the commandment of Jesus. To live out that commandment by loving others is also faith- faith without works is dead.

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Now re-read John 14:21. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. We love God because he first loved us. His love is demonstrated at the cross. “God so loved the world that he gave…” It is this love from God that compels us to faith- to “have Christ’s commandment,” to believe in him, and to love others. Our faith, or our desire to be loved by God and to love others, is the proof that we love Jesus as he first loved us. And God continues to manifest this love in us: And he who loves me will be loved by my Father. Romans 5 tells us that God pours his love into us by the Spirit. John 14:21 says it this way: and I will love him and manifest myself to him. How does Jesus manifest himself to us? By the love of the indwelling Spirit.

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The answer to “Good Judas'” question in verse 22 is the indwelling life of the Spirit. Look at verse 23 again. “We will come and make our home with him.” The Father and Son will indwell the disciple who has placed faith in Christ. How? By the Spirit. That is how the world will see and experience the love of God after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus – through the indwelling life of God [zoe] manifested in the life and love of those of us who claim “to live is Christ.”

John 13:35. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Bonus video- classic Michael W!




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