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Knowing Christ (through Love and Obedience)

“ ‘If you love me, you will obey my commandments [John 14:15]…Obedience is the proof of genuine love.” (NET Bible, John 14:15)

“But our reading draws us into a deeper understanding of the communion with Christ to which He calls us. Obedience is the mark of a relationship with Christ that truly knows Him. We can say we love him, but love is unseen. The evidence of our love is our obedience. Thus, the Lord said, “If you love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We do not know Christ because we obey His commands. Our motivation for following Christ’s instructions is our love for Him. But the apostle reassures us that our observance of the Lord’s teachings confirms that we “know Christ.” We discover in today’s passage that there is a reciprocal relationship between obedience and love. The apostle writes, “But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in Him” (vs. 5). Thus, obeying His Word gives evidence that we love God. Conversely, obedience to the Lord makes that love perfect; that is, it brings it to completion…Furthermore, there is an integral relationship between obeying and knowing the Lord. By His commandments, Christ teaches us His will and His ways. By obeying His instructions, we develop a relationship of trust, devotion, and faithfulness. We find that He is good, righteous, and true.” (Fr. Basil)

“When Christ says, “I never knew you, depart from me ” (Matthew 7:23), it’s not that He didn’t know who people are. He is basically saying, “away from me, you did not do as I commanded. You did not love others as I have loved you (John 13:34-35, 15:17). You did not feed my lambs or tend my sheep (John 21:15-19). Your actions or lack thereof reveal who you serve and it is not Me.” Christian love, Christ-like love, is all about what do regardless of how we feel. Many times it is what we do despite how we feel. Christ often said, “he who has ears to hear let him hear” at the end of one of His teachings. The word obey comes from the Hebrew word that means “to hear.” To hear Christ is to love Him and do what He says which is to love others.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“…obedience is a basic virtue: obedience to the Lord, to the Gospel, to the Church (Mt 18.17), to the leaders of the Church (Heb 13.7), to one’s parents and elders, to “every ordinance of man” (1 Pet 2.13, Rom 13.1), “to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 6.21). There is no spiritual life without obedience, no freedom or liberation from sinful passions and lusts. To submit to God’s discipline in all of its human forms, is the only way to obtain “the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom 8.21). God disciplines us as His children out of His great love for us. “He disciplines us for our good, that we might share His holiness” (cf. Heb 12.3–11). Our obedience to God’s commandments and discipline is the exclusive sign of our love for Him and His Son.” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)

“Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who is indifferent to the salvation of others. Indeed I wonder if such a person can be a true Christian. To become a disciple of Christ is to obey his law of love; and obedience to the law brings joy beyond measure and description. Love means to want the best for others, sharing with them the joy of love. So the Christian feels compelled to speak to others about the law of love, and the joy of obeying this law. Of course, many people are shy about speaking to others; in their case actions motivated by love will be a most eloquent testimony. But those who are not shy will surely want to express their joy at every opportunity. There is no need to use fine words or elegant phrases; even the most uneducated people can convey joyful love by the spirit which accompanies their words..” (St. John Chrysostom)


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