God’s Love- John 14:15-21

In our endeavors to understand the love of God, we look for words with which to explain it, trying to find one word with which to describe it. The word most commonly used in this respect is the word unconditional, but is this the best choice? Is any one word sufficient to describe the love of an infinite God, is His love the same for everyone? In this passage, Jesus gives us a further explanation of the nature of God’s love. He begins in verse 15 with a description of how we show our love for God, and it is shown through obedience, those who love Him obey Him. For those who do obey, Jesus promises to send them the “Spirit of truth”. This is what is known as a qualitative genitive here, with truth being an essential characteristic of this Spirit, truth in person. They will “know” this truth, with know here being ginosko, relational or experiential knowledge. Those who accept Jesus as Lord and savior( the context of obey here) are given the Spirit to know, and this knowledge is the knowledge of relationship, becoming more intimate as the relationship grows. Jesus then tells them (in verse 18-20) that He will be going away but not abandoning them. The “world” (those who have not accepted Him) will no longer see Him, only those who have accepted Him will see Him, and will overcome death because He will. He then, in verse 21, makes a statement further describing God’s love and linking it again to obedience, but obedience of a different kind. The obedience referred to earlier (in verse 15) is the obedience of believing who He says He is and accepting Him as lord and savior. The obedience referred to here is the obedience of a believer to his lord. Believers who love Jesus will obey Him, and those who do not love Him will not obey Him. Our love for Him is expressed in obedience to Him. This is the meaning of the phrase “has my commands” here. Those who have accepted Him are those who “have His commands”, and the level of our love for Him is expressed by the level of our obedience to Him. Jesus then makes a promise to those who obey Him in this way, that He will reveal Himself to those who obey Him. The level of revelation here is directly linked to the level of obedience, and this revelation is the expression of love. Those who obey more will see more, more of Jesus will be revealed to them. This all makes love sound very “conditional” here, with the level of love (revelation) directly linked to the level of obedience. This love is conditioned upon obedience, and we see clearly here that God’s love is multi-faceted, and no one word can describe it, for it takes different forms in Scripture. We find that God loves the world (John 3:16) in the form of “making His appeal” (2 Cor. 5:20) to them and sending Jesus to die for everyone. We find God loves believers in the form of accepting them, He accepts all who come to faith in Christ (Eph. 1:5-6). Those who have met the “condition” of faith are accepted unconditionally by God and loved forever. We then find that God loves obedient believers in the form of revealing Himself to them, that those who love God by obeying Him will grow to know Him more than those who do not obey. So we find here that God’s love is far too complex to be described with one word, and to understand His love at all, we must diligently search the Scriptures (His revelation) to even begin to scratch the surface of ever understanding His love. As we obey His command to search the Scriptures, we will know Him better, and better experience and understand His love.

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