Jesus said “abide in me.” Paul said “to live is Christ.” These are essentially the same thing. We live from Christ’s indwelling life. How? By knowing, receiving, and trusting in the love of Christ- “abide in my love.”
It is this power of the indwelling love of Christ that allows us to obey the second command of Jesus in John’s gospel- “love one another, as I have loved you.” You may remember that in John’s theology, Jesus gave us two commandments. The first is to believe in Jesus, that’s faith. And the second is to love one another, that’s living by faith.
The Source of Life
John 15:9. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
The source of our love is Christ himself. Just as the source of his love was the Father.
John 15:10. 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.
Again, this verse is not saying that we earn Christ’s love by commandment keeping. When we recall that Christ’s commandment is to believe in him and then love others, we see that we abide in Christ’s love by faith not works.
The Sign of Life
John 15:12-13. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Here now is the second of Christ’s commands- love one another. The sign of Christ’s indwelling love is to love one another, even to the point of sacrifice, laying down your life for your friends.
So this is a summary of everything we have sen in this blog this year. To image God is self sacrifice. This is humanity. This is to be alive. This is impact and intimacy. This is desire fulfilled. It is glory. It is zoe. It is freedom.
And it is Christ. Notice his words again- “this is MY commandment.” This command flows from his own life- “as I have loved you.” The power for unconditional love is to be unconditionally loved. We cannot manufacture this love on our own. We can’t “try to love.” We must first be loved deeply and purely.
And don’t let the word “friends” fool you into thinking that I only have to love people that I like and that like me. Jesus is telling us to love others who don’t deserve it, the same way he loves us who don’t deserve it. Ask yourself this question: “Who did Jesus lay down his life for?” Answer: Everyone in the world. Therefore he is calling everyone, even his enemies, his friends. We see Jesus live this out when he calls Judas his friend:
Matthew 26:50. Jesus said to him [Judas], “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.
Tomorrow we will look at some more signs of abiding in Christ. But for today ask yourself “who do I love?” “Am I first trusting in Christ’s love for me, so as to empower me to love others?”