“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Does this sound like a warning to you? Does it cause you to question your relationship with God and how He feels about you? Does it feel like you are still under the Law? I used to feel this way, but I don’t any longer. Why?
Read the entire chapter of John 14, and you will see that it is all about comfort and assurance. Jesus is getting His disciples ready for His departure and He is assuring them that all will be well. He is not going to let them live like orphans. He assures them that they will never be alone and He will supply all of their needs. His intent is to comfort them, not scare them!
This is the context in which He is speaking when He brings up the subject of obedience. He does not want them to be worried about keeping His commandments either. He wants to encourage them, not frighten them.
So He assures them if they love Him, they will obey Him. If love is the root, obedience will be the inevitable fruit. And, here is the good news, He had a plan for rooting them in His love!
He promised to send them a personal Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would live inside of them continually. His job would be to guide them into all truth and show them what Jesus wants them to do in every situation. And through His ministry of revelation, the Holy Spirit will fill their hearts with love for Him. And since obedience flows out from love, this divinely produced love will cause them to keep His word, effortlessly.
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”(Romans 5:5 NASB)
Here is the bottom line. Instead of being frightened that you will not be able to keep the commandments, be assured that the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit. And that the love He wants from you is the love He supplies to you. And the love He supplies to you will cause you to produce the fruit of obedience that He wants from you.
“If ye love me, you will keep my commandments.” Not a warning; a promise!