Over thirty years ago, Chuck Colson wrote a timely and influential book entitled Loving God. In it, he presented a simple yet biblical premise concerning the life of every believer in Jesus: The way to love God is to obey God, period. Everything turns on our listening to God and doing what he says to do. Jesus himself communicated to the church at Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania, but Asia Minor) and affirmed how they obeyed the message. Because of their faithful and steadfast obedience, the Philadelphian believers would be protected and loved by Jesus.
The church at Philadelphia did much more than offer a confession of loving God – they affirmed that confession by obeying Jesus. In my Christian circles, we call this “living into our baptisms.” That is, it is one thing to experience the sign of baptism as being set apart by the Holy Spirit for a relationship with God through the person and finished work of Jesus. It is quite another thing to “live into” this reality by knowing God’s Word and obeying it.
There is much complexity to humanity and its psychology, sociology, and history. But there is at least one simple straightforward Scriptural truth that we all can live into: To love God is to obey God. Therefore, it is quite necessary for us to spend extended times reading our Bibles in order to know them well so that we can obey what it says.
Gracious God, thank you for the message of good news that in Jesus Christ I have forgiveness of sins. Help me to hold onto this gospel through all of the vicissitudes of life so that obedience springs from my heart in all things by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.