“You need to obey to show God you love him so that He will be pleased with you and will love you back.”
Another day trying hard but most likely not hard enough and therefore unloved. But when I put my version of verse 21 in the context of the gospel, I knew it could not have the meaning I was giving it.
- It makes His love for us dependent upon our love for Him…which we must PROVE by our obedience.
- It makes us the initiator
- It puts our love first.
- It makes God the responder.
When I learned to re-read this beautiful verse in the light of the gospel – it changed from a “prove your love verse” to an “identity verse” – a verse describing me and who the gospel has made me to be. The gospel has taught me to read it like this:
“You keep my commands and love me because I have given you a new nature and I have loved you first. Don’t ever think you obey and love me so that the Father and I will love you back. We made you into someone who has the ability and desire to obey, not so you can earn our love, but so that you can experience the love we already have for you.”
“He who has my commands and keeps them and loves me (because of who I have made them to be and because I loved them first) is that person who experiences the love of God. And that is you!”
It is no longer a prove it or a performance verse…it is an identity verse that describes me…and it showcases the GOOD NEWS of the gospel! I have my “gospel version” taped in the back of my Bible so I can keep reminding myself of the gospel everyday.
ACTION: Tape this “gospel version” in your Bible and then Facebook a friend who needs some good news today and suggest they become a subscriber.
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