21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father,
The person who loves Jesus will be loved by the Father. This does not mean that we earn God’s love by obedience, because love is essentially a relationship. Instead, the thought is that genuine love is shown by deeds. The lover responds to love. The Father’s love both precedes and follows our love for Christ. He rewards our love for the Lord. The Father is not indifferent to the love that people have for Jesus.
and I will love him
In addition to the Father loving the believer who applies truth to experience, Jesus will love him.
and manifest Myself to him.”
A step beyond receiving Jesus’ love is His manifesting Himself to the believer. Jesus designed this promise to comfort and calm any believer in light of what they may face in life.
Each application of Jesus’ words to our lives engenders new illumination of Him. The soul sees Him with more and more, and greater and greater, perspectives. Love calls to love. Love can flow unchecked in this context. It is an unfolding love.
Love for Jesus results in personal response to the One who saved us.
The way to the Father’s heart is through love for His Son. Should we not have a friend in the world, we cannot say “no one loves me.” We are well loved by both the Father and Son.
We must be careful that we do not fashion the idea that God’s love is conditioned on our obedience. God’s love always precedes our love (1 Jn 4:19). Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Ro 8:35-37). God’s love for the believer can never improve or grow. It is absolute and unconditional. The believer, then, cannot make God love him more.
However, both can be true. God’s love both precedes and follows our love. The believer’s response to God permits Him to express His love without restraint to the believer. Sin causes God to express His love in the form of discipline (He 12–11).
God’s love engenders our love for Him and creates a desire to follow His precepts. By following our love, He blesses us for keeping them. The thought, rather, is that the progressive relationship between us and God is a logical condition that is normal for how He operates. Our love for Him and His love for us works in exactly the same way. We cannot separate our response from God’s love.
Our love is always birthed out of Christ’s love for us. We answer His love with a love of response, a willingness to do His will. We should keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21). That will keep God’s love flowing unchecked in an experiential sense.
Christ will show Himself to the loving heart. Jesus manifests Himself to those who love Him. This love is no mere sentiment.