Bible Reading: 1 John 2:3-5

The proof of our love for God is our obedience to the Law of God. It is love, not law, that produces obedience in the Christian life. The true Christian doesn’t obey Christ because he feels forced to by the Law of God. Instead, he obeys Christ because he wants to, thanks to his love for God.

In 1 John 5:3, John writes: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” In this verse, like in 1 John 2:3-5, John teaches us that the proof of our love for God is our obedience to God. In 1 John 5:3, however, John adds that the true Christian actually obeys God without any grievance. He is neither grieved over God’s commandments nor God’s expectation of him to obey them. Instead, he is glad to do so. Since he loves Christ, his delight is to please Christ; and since his delight is to please Christ, he is not grieved by Christ’s commandments, but glad to obey them.

The true Christian “serves the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). He does it with a spring in his step and a smile on his face. He doesn’t do it with a frown and dragging his feet. He is “constrained” to serve Christ by “the love of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:14). His service and obedience are not just motivated by his love for Christ, but also by the inescapable thought of Christ’s incomprehensible love for him.

I like J. B. Phillips’ translation of 1 John 2:5. According to Phillips, the more a man learns to obey God’s laws the more truly and fully he expresses his love for God. The true measure of your love for Christ is your obedience to Christ. The less you live for Him, the less you love Him. The more you live for Him, the more you love Him. If you don’t live for Him, you don’t love Him. Disobedience to Christ proves the disingenuousness of one’s profession of Christ. Anyone unwilling to live for Christ doesn’t love Christ, regardless of what he professes.