What does it mean to have a relationship with God? What is the point of the Holy Spirit? How do we love God in return for His love toward us?
15 “ If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
Jesus is explaining here how we get to have an intimate relationship with God. Because He first loved us, we get to answer by loving Him back. It is as simple (and hard) as that. Something that stuck out to me in this passage was in verse 16 when Jesus says, “another helper.” If there is another helper, that means that one already exists, right? Well, it is Jesus Himself. Currently, He is guiding them through life. He is teaching them the ways of God, He is teaching them “The Way”. This new helper He speaks of is the Holy Spirit, which we learn later is released from Jesus upon His death and is then gifted to the disciples on the day of Pentecost. This is His meaning in verses 19 and 20.
After just completing the New Testament Survey class here at missionary school, I have concluded the point of the New Testament. Yes, we can get into an exegetical discussion of the meaning of testament and why/when/where/how the books of the bible were written and compiled into our current version of the scripture. The point of it all is to learn how to love Jesus back. How do we love God in return for His love? How do we keep His commandments as He says in verse 15? We abide in Him. How do we do that? We study His Word to know Him better.
Don’t let this be confused with following a bunch of rules. As I continue my study on different religions and why/how there is such a divide in the Christian church on beliefs, I realize that these rules, originally, were designed to help us (humans) love God back. However, just like the Law (given to Moses and passed down to the Jews), we have become more focused on worshipping the rules because it makes us feel good instead of staying focused on the God they were designed to worship in the first place!
I could go into a long discussion about what it means to “keep His commandments,” and in short, let me say it isn’t necessarily about keeping the Law, but rather in keeping the law of love. It is the heart behind the commandments. There is a revolving and eternal theme in the bible: love. Jesus commands us to love. Yes, we can create a list of what to do and what not to do that exemplifies love. In 1 Corinthians 13, most of us know as “the love chapter,” we tend to hear it a lot at weddings but we don’t realize that it wasn’t designed for weddings. Rather, it was designed to explain to the church at Corinth the purpose of God, Christ, The Holy Spirit and the most important virtue in life: love. Love for the Father, through the Son, experienced in the Spirit. In verse 2 Paul tells us, “2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” It doesn’t matter what we do, without love (not receiving love, but rather giving love,) we have nothing. All else is worthless, useless garbage.
How will you love God today in response to His love for you?