Judas (not Iscariot) asked Him, “Lord, what has happened that You are going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him. One who does not love Me does not keep My words. And the word which you hear is not Mine, but is the Father’s who sent Me.
For the most part, I would say I was a pretty good kid growing up. Disobedience was minor. I would stay outside playing later than I should, receive my punishment when I finally came home, and take a bath and go to bed later than planned. In those days, my disobedience did not amount to much. Later on, staying out after dark turned into taking the car without permission, and that could have much more serious ramifications. Each act of disobedience came with its own punishment and consequences designed to pay a price. Of course, my parents would have much preferred that I simply obey their instruction instead of disobeying, suffering the punishment, and then having to set straight whatever I damaged. They did not prefer a son who was willing to be punished for doing wrong but preferred a son who loved them enough to obey them in the first place.
In the old testament, Samuel recognizes the nugget of wisdom that Jesus shares here with Jude. There is a process in place by which we can repent for our sins and receive forgiveness. This absolution corrects a wrong and restores us to a good standing with God. This does not mean, however, that we simply do as we please with the expectation that all will be forgiven. At some point, our love for and devotion to God must manifest itself in obedience to his commands. This obedience comes from our desire to please him, our being transformed into people who desire righteousness instead of sin, and the manifestation of God’s Spirit working through us and producing good fruit. If we love God, our default is not to seek sin and then forgiveness. Our default should be to seek obedience first. This is what it means to keep the commandments of God because of our love for him.
When we love God, we love everything about him. We desire to progress through this process of sanctification and become more and more like Jesus Christ. Part of that progression will be that we veer from sin with our eyes toward obedience. One of the ways the world knows us is by our behavior. This is why many are quick to point out when a self-professed Christian falls short and commits an obvious sin. Some of us may even live a lifestyle of blatant sinfulness as though there are minor transgressions that do not amount to much. But if we believe the words of Jesus here, then we must confess that our duty, out of love, is obedience and nothing less. Father, increase our love for You that we would desire to be obedient in all things out of a pure desire to bring You pleasure.