"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love" (John 15:10)
In our previous meditation, reference was made to the entrance into a life of rest and strength. This life has often come through a true insight into the personal love of Christ, and the assurance that love indeed meant that He would keep the soul. In connection with that transition, and the faith that sees and accepts it, the word "surrender or consecration" is frequently used. The soul realizes that it cannot claim the keeping of this wonderful love unless it yields itself to a life of entire obedience. It also knows that the faith which can trust Christ to keep it from sinning must prove its sincerity by venturing to trust Him for the strength to obey. In that faith, it dares to give up and cut off everything that has hitherto hindered it. It promises and expects to live a life that is well pleasing to God.
This is the thought we have here in our Saviour's teaching. After having spoken of a life in His love as a necessity - because it is at once a possibility and an obligation, He states what its one condition is: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in My love." This is surely not meant to close the door to the abode of His love which He had just opened up. It does not even approach the suggestion, which some are too ready to entertain, that as we cannot keep His commandments, we cannot abide in His love. No, "Abide in My love" is a promise!
And so, the instruction as to the way through this open door points to an attainable ideal. The love that invites to her blessed abode reaches out her hand, and enables us to keep the commandments. Do not fear. In the strength of your ascended Lord, take the vow of obedience, and give yourself to the keeping of His commandments. Through His will, loved and done, lies the path to His love.
Only let us understand what it means. It refers to our performance of all that we know to be God's will. There may be doubtful things, about which we are not sure. A sin of ignorance still has the nature of sin in it. There may be involuntary sins, which rise up in the flesh, that we cannot control or overcome. God will deal with these in due time, in the way of searching and humbling. And, if we are simple and faithful, He will give us a larger deliverance than we dare to expect.
But, all this may only be found in a truly obedient soul. Obedience refers to keep the commandments of our Lord, and performing His will in everything in which we know it. This is a possible degree of grace. Here, Christ is speaking of our accepting obedience as the purpose of our heart. Faith in Christ as our Vine, in His enabling and sanctifying strength and power, prepares us for this obedience of faith. It secures a life of abiding in His love.
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love. It is the heavenly Vine unfolding the mystery of the life He gives. To those abiding in Him, He opens up the secret of the full abiding in His love. It is the wholehearted surrender in everything to do His will that gives access to a life in the abiding enjoyment of His love.
Obey and abide. Gracious Lord, teach me this lesson, that it is only through knowing Your will that one can know Your heart. Only through doing that will can one abide in Your love. Lord, teach me that as worthless as is the doing in my own strength, so essential and absolutely indispensable is the doing of faith in Your strength, if I want to abide in Your love. Amen