21a He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.
Here Jesus Christ, our Lord, speaks about the one who truly loves Him. No one makes an impression on Christ by claims of love to Him. The Lord says that it is he who has and keeps His commandments that truly loves Him.
The possession of His commandments is the first sure sign of love to Him which Jesus identifies here. He said, “He that hath my commandments… is that loveth me”. Certainly, He is not saying that everyone who has a copy of the Bible is a true lover of Christ. The only kind of “having” that Christ regards as real and valid, is the possession of His words in one’s heart. A loving heart will take to heart the will of the One whom he loves. He not only hears the Word of God, but also receives it with faith and love. He cherishes the commandments of God, and considers them to be most precious. He is like the psalmist who says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). He will regard as useless and reject every thought that is contrary to the Word of God. His heart will say, “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love” (Psalm 119:113). He who loves Christ will treasure His Word in the head and heart.
The second mark of the one who loves Him is obedience to His commandments. Jesus said, “He that … keepeth them, he it is that loveth me”. True love to Christ will produce obedience. Having known Christ’s commandments, we must keep them. The surest evidence of our love to Christ is our obedience to His Word. Jesus has repeatedly affirmed that obedience to His commandments is the true mark of love to Him. In John 14:15, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In John 14:23-24, He said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” Again in John 15:14, He said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
The love for Christ has an unmistakable hallmark: obedience. Passionate, sweet, pure and deep though it may be, it is no mere emotion or sentiment. A disobedient man will be a great dishonour to Christ. The friends of Christ are those who live for His cause by diligently studying His Word and by cheerfully obeying His commandments.