“These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”–John 15:17
The primary purpose of Jesus’ commands is this: that we would follow them. At first, when we were unregenerate sinners, these laws served the purpose of showing us what sin was and how deep we were in it. They revealed our need for the Savior. Now that we are saved, the purpose is entirely different. They are now to us the words of life, because the Spirit equips us with the power to do them.
When we take a command like love, it is insufficient to say, “Thank you, Jesus, for forgiving me of my hate-filled heart.” No, we walk boldly toward the object of our love, shattered pieces of those black walls of bitterness and fear flying to the wayside. We say, “Thank you, Jesus, for filling my heart with love!” For that is what He’s done.
Love is free and brings freedom. Tolerance of sin is not love. Neither is condemnation. To love, we must expose our own hearts, confident that what we have to offer is altogether good. If the Holy Spirit truly lives inside us, we can be confident that our love is true. We will love well. After all, Jesus commanded it. He doesn’t lie.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”–Romans 8:38-39