In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” He later adds, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them…loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (v. 21). Obedience is the best expression of love for Christ. Loving obedience to Him is also the way to experience more of the love of Christ. According to His promise, He will show us more of Himself as we keep His commandments. Obedience is not mere rule-keeping; it is the expression or fruit of a faith relationship with Christ, as “faith…worketh by love” (Gal. 5:6).
Thomas Boston (1676–1732) was a champion for the gospel of free grace among the people of Scotland. Yet he reminds us that if Christ is our head, we will want to keep His commandments. Writing of the relationship between Christ and His people, Boston says:
Jesus Christ, the head of the covenant, is their head with their own consent. With heart and good-will they have taken him for their head, for all the purposes of the covenant…. And they have taken him as their head for government, as well as their head for nourishment and support. They have delivered up themselves unto him, to be ruled by him, as well as to be saved by him; to be governed by his laws, and not by their own lusts, as well as to be saved by his grace, and not by their own works.6
Receiving Christ’s Word is the first mark of a faithful church member. Union with Christ’s person is the second mark, for Christ is the Head of the body. From our living Head comes all our spiritual life, and to Him rise all our hopes and desires. Let us cling to Him in personal faith, celebrate Him in the public sacraments of the church, and follow Him in practical obedience.
Beauty and Glory of Christ’s Bride
Joel R. Beeke