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What did Jesus mean, when He said, 
"If Ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)?


Jesus said, "If Ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15). What is its meaning?


True Christians take the matter of obedience to God (i.e. Allah) very seriously. As you quoted from John 14:15, Jesus himself said that we should keep his commandments. He called them "my commandments" because he himself is God, so He was really talking about the commandments of God. Our obedience is not to a mere man, but to God. Disobedience to God is sin. Therefore, true goodness must keep the commandments of God perfectly.

But Christians also admit that no person keeps the commandments of God perfectly. This is affirmed in many places in both the Old and New Testaments. For example, King Solomon recognized it, saying "there is no man who does not sin" (2 Chronicles 6:36). John said, "If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Jesus himself said, "No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19), and Jesus is sinless.

This means even Abraham was not truly good. He kept God's commandments better than most people do, but not perfectly, so he was still a sinner. In spite of this, God called him righteous. Why? The answer is in Genesis 15:6 - "Then he believed in the Lord, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness". No person was ever declared righteous by keeping the commandments. The only way to be declared righteous is to truly believe in God and all that God has revealed, that he is everything He claims to be, just as Abraham believed.

So when Jesus told us to keep his commandments, he was not saying that keeping the commandments is the way to be made righteous. Instead, he was speaking to those who already believed in the Lord and thus were already declared righteous, and he told them, "If you love me, you will keep My commandments". So, we want to keep God's commandments because we love him. If we truly believe in him, then we acknowledge that he is king and lord, and we know in our hearts that whatever he tells us to do is for the best, and so we want to obey him.

What specific things do we want to obey? All that he has commanded us, of course! But God has not commanded everyone to obey the exact same things. For example, through Moses he commanded the nation of Israel to not eat pork and certain other foods, but he never commanded this to Abraham or Job. Similarly, these commandments were not addressed to Christians. The Law of Moses was given specifically to Israel only. But many of the individual commandments recorded in the Law of Moses are universal moral standards that God requires for all men everywhere. For example, it is always wrong to have other gods, to murder, commit adultery, steal, lie, or covet. Those who truly believe in God and love Jesus always want to keep the commandments against these things.

by EM

Last edited 01/20/2002

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