If you love me, you will keep my commandments. This is Jesus faith word concerning His followers, a word that is spontaneously fulfilled in us every day. Jesus walked in the ease of faith trusting that every word He spoke was the Father speaking as Him, and further reckoning that it was the Father’s privilege and responsibility to fulfill every word of His. Jesus spoke His word against all appearances calling things that be not as though they were. We are not among those who shrink back, but we affirm Jesus’ word and take faith action by our own affirmative word so that every “you ought to” etc. we encounter in the Bible is met with a “Yes, I am”. Every such word which initially seems to us to be a “law-word” is in reality a call to faith, to take the leap into the absurd, as it were. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. This is quite intriguing particularly in regards to the universalism movement which apparently is gaining ground. It is evident from Jesus’ words that there is a difference between those that have received Christ and those who haven’t. Jesus plainly states that those who do not receive Him neither see nor know the Spirit of truth. How do we know Him? It seems to me that this is a knowledge that is increasing in us as that “trying-self” or “works-self” more and more is revealed for what it is, that is, a falsehood (Isa 41:29). What a marvelous promise this verse is for everyone who is in Christ. We can boldly reckon on the Spirit’s indwelling and that He lives as us.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. By faith we recognize and see the Son living as us. Because I live, you also will live. This is an echo of Paul’s words in Gal 2:20. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Jesus is outlining the mystery of the union; two distinct persons joined as one in all things. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. As mentioned, this is something that is spontaneously fulfilled in us, and this is the dividing line between the believer and the unbeliever. His love is shed abroad in our hearts so that we love Him by His own love. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. It was Paul who said that the Son was revealed in him in his letter to the Galatians (1:16). Of course we are to expect that He will reveal Himself in us as well. In fact we are to expect that He lives as us 24/7.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. This is a verse that most likely can be understood in many ways. However, as I read it this morning the following string of thoughts came to me: The Father lives outside the realm of time so for Him the world was reconciled to Him when Jesus uttered these words so that every man is a branch on the tree, BUT not every man, that is, branch carries fruit – only those who have received Christ by faith carry fruit and remain in Him by faith. One of the many temptations we face while resting in this abiding place by faith is to use the arm of flesh when we face some kind of negative the Lord sends our way. Thank God, that the Spirit swiftly nudges us back to our abiding place. The pruning is mentioned in Hebrews as God rearing every son of His. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. We abide by our word of faith. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. It takes some conditioning in the wilderness before we arrive at this conclusion, that is, that we can do nothing without Him. It is our Romans 7 tour. At last we as Paul call out: “Who can deliver me from my wretchedness?” Then we hear the echo from the cross: It is finished! That old self, that falsehood died on the cross and has lost its delusive power so that we can embrace our true self in Christ as something new, something never seen before – the union self. To this self all the promises apply. This is the self that knows that we are as He is in this world. This truth is no longer mere theory. It is life lived out every day.