"Ye are my friends, if ye do whosoever I command you" (John 15:14)
Our Lord has already said what He gave as proof of His friendship: He gave His life for us. He now tells us what our part is to be - to do the things which He commands. He gave His life to secure a place for His love in our hearts to rule us. The response His love calls us to, and empowers us for, is that we do what He commands us. As we know the dying love, we will joyfully obey it commands. As we obey the commands, we will know the love more fully.
Christ had already said, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." He thinks this truth is important enough to repeat again. The one proof of our faith in His love, the one way to abide in it, the one mark of being true branches is to do whatsoever He commands us. He began with absolute surrender of His life for us. He can ask nothing less from us. This alone is a life in His friendship.
This truth of the imperative necessity of obedience - doing all that Christ commands us - does not have the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to. We have given a far higher place to privilege than to duty. We have not considered implicit obedience a condition of true discipleship. The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, combined with a subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity, have frequently robbed people of God's promises and their power.
The whole relationship to Christ has become clouded and lowered. The waiting on His teaching, the power to hear and obey His voice, and through obedience to enjoy His love and friendship, have been enfeebled by the terrible mistake. Let us try to return to the true position, take Christ's words as most literally true, and make nothing less the law of our life. "You are My friends, if you do the things that I command you." Surely our Lord asks nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say, "Yes, Lord, what You command, that will I do."
These commands are to be done as a proof of friendship. The power to do them rests entirely in personal relationship to Jesus. For a friend, I would do what I might not for another. The friendship of Jesus is so heavenly and wonderful. It comes to us as the power of a divine love entering in and taking possession. The unbroken fellowship with Him is so essential to it that it implies and imparts a joy and a love which make the obedience a delight. The liberty to claim the friendship of Jesus, the power to enjoy it, the grace to prove it in all its blessedness all come as we do whatsoever He commands us.
We need to ask our Lord to reveal Himself to us with the dying love in which he proves Himself our friend, and then listen as He says to us, "You are My friends." As we see what our Friend has done for us, and what an unspeakable blessedness it is to have Him call us friends, doing His commands will become the natural fruit of our life in His love. We will not be afraid to say, "Yes, Lord, we are Your friends, and do what You command us."
If ye do. Yes, it is in doing that we are blessed, that we abide in His love, that we enjoy His friendship. "If ye do what I command you!' O my Lord, let Your holy friendship lead me into the love of all Your commands, and let the doing of Your commands lead me ever deeper into Your friendship. Amen