It is natural to express your feelings to the person you love. Nevertheless, what if you express love in your own way without considering that person’s feelings? You may even end up doing something the person dislikes. Can we call this true love?
Then, how should we express our love toward God? If we truly love God, we should not insist on our own thoughts and opinions. God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:9). So we should express our love toward God in accordance with God’s ways which are described in the Bible.
God says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Let us realize the great providence of God by studying the relationship between loving God and obeying His commands.
Two thousand years ago, God came in the flesh to open the way to eternal life and salvation and to teach us how to love Him.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. . . . Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Jn 14:15–21
Through the above verses, we can understand that obeying God’s commands is an expression of our love toward God. Those who truly love God treasure God’s commands and strive to keep them.
In a vision, the Apostle John saw the saints obeying God’s commands in the last days.
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Rev 14:12
Then the dragon [the devil] was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Rev 12:17
The devil stands in opposition to the saints who obey God’s commandments. Obedience to God’s Commandments is the way to prove our love for God. Then, what can we understand about those who do not keep God’s commands? Their actions reveal that they do not love God.
Jesus sternly rebuked those who claimed to love God without keeping His commands.
He replied, “. . . as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” Mk 7:6–9
We can keep God’s commands when we respect God’s word and have love for God. The reason many people easily set aside God’s commands and hold on to the traditions of men is that they lack faith and love toward God. God, who examines the hearts of all people, will never acknowledge them no matter how much they claim to love Him.
They cannot understand the truth because God does not grant them spiritual wisdom.
The LORD says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” Isa 29:13–14
The reason even well-educated and wise people follow rules taught by men is that they have not been granted wisdom to understand God’s word. Consequently, many theologians cannot understand God’s laws no matter how diligently they study the Bible.
“ ‘Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,” . . . The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?’ ” Jer 8:7–9
Even tiny creatures like birds know the appointed seasons and observe the time of migration. However, those who call themselves God’s people do not know the requirements of God.
Those people who keep man-made rules insist on teachings which contradict the Bible. They cannot see what is clearly written in the Bible because wisdom and understanding have been kept from them. No matter how many times they read the Bible, they will fail to understand God’s providence of salvation. How unfortunate!
The Bible prophesies the miserable end for those who forsake God’s word.
. . . These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction. They say . . . to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!” Therefore, “. . . It will break in pieces like pottery, . . .” Isa 30:8–14
About 2,700 years ago, God showed through the prophet Isaiah that people claiming to believe in God would rebel and disobey His commands. Those who are unwilling to listen to God’s instructions prefer to hear deceitfully spoken, pleasant words about love rather than the words of God.
In the end, those who love falsehood and forsake the path of God’s commands will meet destruction. We can confirm this fact in the book of Jeremiah.
. . . I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.” . . . Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. Jer 5:2–6
The commands of God are the path of salvation that leads us to the everlasting Kingdom of Heaven. We, the people of Zion, should realize God’s love contained in the words, “Keep My commands,” and follow God wherever He leads us until the end.
Since we love God, we obey God’s commands. Obeying God’s commands is a better way to express our love for God than merely saying the words, “I love God,” a hundred or even a thousand times.
God’s commands serve as a bridge connecting us to God. He becomes our God, and we become His people through the New Covenant (Jer 31:33). If we disobey God’s commands, we will be cut off from God. Jesus confirmed these words during the foot-washing ceremony:
[S]o he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, . . . “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” . . . Jn 13:4–10
While conducting the foot-washing ceremony at the Passover, Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Initially, Peter refused to have his feet washed because he thought it was improper for a disciple to have his feet washed by his teacher. However, that was not the will of Jesus. Though some may consider the foot-washing ceremony trivial, it is actually an important teaching of Jesus which determines whether or not we have a relationship with God.
We truly give thanks to God for calling us to Zion (the city of God’s appointed feasts) and for granting us the wisdom to understand His commands. If we had continued following the rules of men, we would have had no part with God.
Can a person be saved apart from God? Such a person cannot be saved even though he cries out, “Lord, Lord,” over and over again. The Bible says that only those who do the will of the Father can enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 7:21).
Among all of God’s creation, some things may seem insignificant or trivial. However, infinite mysteries and beauty can be found within everything God has made. Let us realize the importance of God’s commands through the following story:
One day, a botanist picked a little flower out of a mountain valley and examined it closely through a microscope. While looking at the flower, he felt the profound and mysterious harmony within God’s creation. The botanist could hardly contain his excitement as he examined the flower all day long.
Then a shepherd boy who was tending sheep nearby happened to notice the botanist. Curious, the shepherd boy asked him why he was so excited. The botanist called the boy over to look into the microscope.
The shepherd boy could not stop looking through the microscope at the wonders of nature. It was just a common wild flower, but under the microscope, its delicate petals were a masterpiece that no artist in the world could imitate.
Enamored by the beauty of the flower, the shepherd boy began shedding tears and said, “If I had known how beautiful these flowers were, I would not have treated them so carelessly . . .”
He had thoughtlessly trampled the flowers because he did not realize their intricate beauty, merely regarding them as something trivial. Then he sobbed bitterly with regret for not having realized God’s great providence contained within His creation.
Although the flowers in the story seemed trivial at first, their inexpressible beauty could be seen when examined under the microscope. Those who do not realize the beauty of the wild flowers trample them. In the same way, God’s commands have been ignored and rejected by those who do not realize His mysterious providence contained within them.
Although some may regard the commands of God as trivial, every command is for our salvation and contains the inexpressible love of God. We can treasure God’s commands and love God with all our hearts only when we open our spiritual eyes and realize God’s love and blessings contained within His commandments.
Take, for example, the Passover of the New Covenant, one of God’s most important commands. Eating bread and drinking wine may seem like a mere ceremonial regulation, but in actuality it contains the secret of salvation. This is why Christ said that He eagerly desired to eat the Passover.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” . . . They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” . . . And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Lk 22:7–15, 19–20
The Passover originated in the time of the Exodus when the Israelites were saved from the plague through the blood of the Passover lamb, and Jesus Christ established the Passover as the New Covenant for the salvation of mankind. Since Christ was sacrificed as the Passover Lamb, the apostles emphasized the importance of celebrating the Passover (1 Co 5:7–8).
Although the Passover of the New Covenant is a law that God established for our salvation, false prophets deny this truth. They try to hinder God’s people from celebrating the Passover, which is a commandment of God. We should recognize the evil spirits’ work of changing God’s set times and laws to prevent people from loving God (Da 7:25).
The evil spirits under Satan’s control had infiltrated people’s hearts to block the way to spiritual wisdom and understanding. As a result, the truth of life was thrown to the ground and trampled on for about 1,600 years until it was restored by God in this age.
God’s commands protect and keep our souls safe; they are not given to limit or restrict us. Through obedience to God’s commands, we can deeply realize the love of God who endured many sufferings and even gave up His life to save us. God established His commands through the blood of His sacrifice; they are undeniable proof of God’s love for us. So, we can express our love for God when we obey His commands.
Heaven is a place of infinite beauty. God refines us through His commands to become beautiful heavenly angels who can live forever in that glorious place. As God’s people who love God, let us obey and teach God’s commands to lead many souls to salvation, realizing the profound love of God.