Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Love, Commandment Style

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15)

I never liked this verse. To me, the plain reading either:
  1. Makes Jesus sound like a manipulative significant other: If you love me, If you really love me,  you would buy me the Lexus, or
  2. Is too terrifying to contemplate because I do not obey the commandments which implies I don't love Jesus which has disastrous, eternal consequences.
Maybe those readings, while certainly containing some truth, are both not quite right.

I submit this verse has two meanings. The practical one, which is not the plain reading but we can infer, is that if you love Jesus you will strive (and fail, but nevertheless strive) to keep his commandments. That is not what the verse states--but it would be hard to argue that it is a not good and reasonable inference.

Is there a way to take the verse as it is stated?

I think there is.

Let A = Love Jesus
Let B = Keep His Commandments1

We are tempted to read it as: If A, then B (as in bullet 1, above), or as:  if not B, then not A, as in bullet 2 above.

But maybe it should be read as "A = B". As in A is synonymous with B. As in: Loving Jesus is the same thing as keeping his commandments. As in:

 “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’

The greatest commandment is to love God. So if you love Jesus, you are keeping, at the very least, the greatest commandment, from which the rest are corollaries.

1 By the way, it's his commandments, not the 10 commandments.

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