"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, abide in his love" (John 15:10)
We have had more than on occasion to speak of the perfect similarity of the vine and the branch in nature, and in Scripture. Here, Christ no longer speaks in a parable, but tells us plainly of how His own life is the exact model of ours. He had said that it is by obedience alone that we can abide in His love. He now explains that this was the way in which He abode in the Father's love. As the Vine, so the branch. His life and strength and joy had been in the love of the Father. It was only by obedience that He abode in it. We may find our life and strength and joy in His love all the day. But, it is only by an obedience like His that we can abide in it. Perfect conformity to the Vine is one of the most precious of the lessons of the branch. It was by obedience that Christ as the Vine honored the Father as the Husbandman. It is by obedience that the believer as the branch honors Christ as the Vine.
Obey and abide. That was the law of Christ's life as much as it is to be that of ours. He was made like us in all things, so that we might be like Him in all things. He opened up a path in which we may walk even as He walked. He took our human nature to teach us how to wear it. He showed us how obedience - the first duty of man - is the only way to abide in the favor of God and enter into His glory. And now He comes to instruct and encourage us. He asks us to keep His commandments, even as he kept His Father's commandments and abides in His love.
The divine fitness of this connection between obeying and abiding, between God's commandments and His love, is easily seen. God's will is the very center of His divine perfection. As revealed in His commandments, it opens up the way for man to grow into the likeness of His Creator. In accepting and doing His will, I rise into fellowship with Him. Therefore, the Son, when coming into the world, spoke, "I come to do thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:9). This is the place and the blessedness of man. This is what he lost in the Fall. This is what Christ came to restore. This is what, as the heavenly Vine, He asks of us and imparts to us. Even as He by keeping His Father's commandments abode in His love, we should keep His commandments and abide in His love.
Ye, even as I. The branch cannot bear fruit unless it has exactly the same life as the Vine. Our life is to be the exact counterpart of Christ's life. It can be, in the same measure as we believe in Him as the Vine, imparting Himself as His life to His branches. "Ye, even as I," the Vine says; one law, one nature, one fruit. Let us learn His lesson of obedience as the secret of abiding. Let us confess that simple, implicit, universal obedience has not had the place it should have. Christ died for us as enemies when we were disobedient. He took us up into His love. Now that we are in Him, His word is: "Obey and abide; ye, even as I." Let us give ourselves to a willing and loving obedience. He will keep us abiding in His love.
Ye, even as I. O my blessed Vine, who makes the branch partaker of Your life and likeness, in this, too, I am to be like You. As Your life in the Father's love is through obedience, so in mine in Your love! Saviour, help me, that obedience may indeed be the link between You and me. Amen