“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15, NKJV)
A husband will insist to the counselor that he does love his wife. Turning to 1 Corinthians 13, the counselor will put his claim to the test. “Are you being patient and kind? Are you being arrogant, rude, and insensitive? What about the record of her wrongs that you’ve brought with you?” Actions provide the litmus test to love.
How do we know that love Jesus? John records the words of Jesus in the upper room with His disciples: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Not only disobedience but disregard for the commands of Christ is a sure sign of lack of love for Jesus, and perhaps a lack of saving relationship to begin with.
John has written his epistle to help us to know with certainty that we have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Like a physician of the soul, he spreads before us the symptoms of faith and the symptoms of unbelief by which we can assess our spiritual life and our spiritual health.
Much is made nowadays about Jesus’s interaction with the woman caught in adultery. They stress that Christ did not condemn the woman for her sin but they overlook His command that she go and sin no more. Jesus is not accepting of sin in our lives. Just because He forgives us our transgressions does not mean He sanctions sin. Rather, in light of His deliverance we look to sin no more. On the contrary, we delight in His commandments.
John draws our attention to this symptom of saving faith. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). Knowing Jesus speaks to the heart of the Christian life. Jesus is not merely an historical figure we know about. He is a living Lord we love and commune with as part of our daily existence. We long to see Him face to face, and one day we will.
But how do we know that we know Him? John describes a life oriented to Him, revolving around Him, and dedicated to Him. His commandments are our delight. John will later tell us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
We often put obedience and love in divergent categories. But in knowing Jesus, our love for Him will show up in lives that serve Him, willingly not begrudgingly.
How can you know that you know Jesus?