Since Christ teaches that the way to abide in his love is to keep his commandments, what does it take to accomplish that?
-Being saved by the love of God in Christ. Remember, Christ has told the disciples in v.3 that they are already clean prior to instructing them to abide in his love. This means they are cleansed from their sin, having full forgiveness of their sins and having the righteousness of Christ granted to them by faith alone. This is that love to the fullest extent highlighted in John 13:1.
-Being given the gift of the Holy Spirit. According to the John 14:16-17, the Holy Spirit will be given to all believers as an abiding, helping presence of God and because he is the Spirit of truth, he will guide and help God’s people live out the truth. Of course, we must then walk by the Spirit by submitting to his sanctifying influence.
-Being committed to renewing your mind in the truth so that your thoughts are transformed. This will not only inform you of God’s will, but enable you to have the proper assessment of his will—Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
-Being determined to surrender your own will to God’s will. The epitome of obedience is found in the Garden of Gethsemane as our Lord faced the horrific prospect of taking on sin and thus being forsaken by the Father. However, it’s right at that point of deepest agony, that he prays to the Father—Not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42). That is the necessary commitment if there is to be any obedience to Christ in our lives.
-Lastly, being cognizant that God is keeping us in his love as or while we are keeping his commandments. Even though our part and God’s part are by no means equally effectual, we must understand that both are necessary and both are found all over Scripture. For instance, in Jude 21, Jude writes… keep yourselves in the love of God…Then a few verses later—24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy…
We must take all of this to heart if we are to keep Christ’s commands and thus abide in his love.