“15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 KJV)
#1: Jesus Was Not Referring To The Ten Commandments
Watching the context closely in John, it is clear that Jesus was NOT referring to The Ten Commandments, nor the whole Law of Moses. Jesus was most definitely not referring to the Law of Moses because He has already FULFILLED those as we see in the next chapter. Remember that chapters were not part of the original writings. They were added for our referencing later. It is to be read as one continuous writing and we see in John 15:10 KJV:
“10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
Notice the words Jesus uses here. He is showing TWO DIFFERENT sets of commandments. We are to abide in JESUS’ COMMANDMENTS. During Jesus’ life, under the Old Covenant, Jesus had to be sinless and that meant that HE had to keep ALL THE LAW OF MOSES, a feat no human has ever done without fail. He had to keep them all so that He could be the ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10) for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD (1 John 2:2). Jesus kept His Father’s Commandments (The Law) perfectly.
Now once Jesus died on the cross, the New Covenant REPLACED the Old Covenant. Jesus’ >NEW< commandments under the New Covenant is found a chapter before in John 13:34-35 KJV:
“34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34-35 KJV)
The context of a chapter earlier makes it clear that these are the commandments Jesus’ is speaking about HIS NEW COMMANDMENTS. Jesus says this because if we love each other, not as the world loves, but as Jesus loves us, then we too fulfill the law through love. Our NEW SOURCE is the Holy Spirit within. Walking by the newly created Spirit in us after Salvation,
will we want to murder?, Will we want to covet, steal etc.?
Look at this Scripture in Romans 13:10 KJV:
“10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
#2 This Scripture Should Not Be Taken As A Threat Of Loss Of Salvation
Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 KJV)
Notice that Jesus did NOT say, ‘You must keep my commandments if you love me.’ Nor did Jesus say, ‘You must keep my commandments to remain saved’. Yet, I see some believers stating that is what this verse means. TO make this statement o Jesus to mean either of these is to ignore proper context. This is actually very important. Jesus was very clear when He spoke and how He spoke matters. We need to watch how He states things very closely.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, Apostle Paul made it clear that Salvation is not of ourselves nor our works. Our Salvation does not rely on our self righteous efforts in being a good person nor by not sinning. Yes, we should avoid sinning. Of course! But is being legalistic and Law keeping the way to not sin? Absolutely NOT! Using Law keeping to make you saved and keep you saved is a belief headed for complete failure. Thinking this statement by Jesus, in John 14:15, is a threat of loss of Salvation is to hear these words in a very legalistic way, based on our own efforts to keep us saved. It is no different than relying on keeping the Law of Moses to justify us before God and Apostle Paul is clear that the truth is the opposite!
“Knowing this, that the law is NOT MADE FOR A RIGHTEOUS MAN, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,” (1 Timothy 1:9 KJV)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED in his sight: for by the law is the KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.” (Romans 3:20 KJV)
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence MIGHT ABOUND. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:” (Romans 5:20)
“The sting of death is sin; and the STRENGTH OF SIN IS THE LAW.” (1 Corinthians 15:56 KJV)
What does Jesus mean by this then? If one only reads this one verse, yet ignores the rest of the book of John they can be very wrong in their interpretation. If you read just Chapter 13 and 14, then this verse in John 14:15 become much clearer.
Earlier in John 13:34 we see Jesus state this,
“A new commandment I give unto you, ++ That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34 KJV)
And if you continue reading into Chapter 14, just before He states verse 15, you see Jesus say this,
“1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
++ 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
I have added a “++” next to two key commands Jesus gave in John 13 and 14 and these are precisely the commands Jesus is referring to in John 14:15.
#3 KEEP VS OBEY : NIV Translation Has It Wrong.
Corrupt new modern Bible versions have added to the confusion regarding John 14:15 because they mistranslated.
John 14 New International Version (NIV):
“23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will OBEY my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
John 14 KJV/NASB:
“23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will KEEP my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him”
John 14:23 New American Standard Bible (NASB):
“23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will KEEP My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
The NIV has it wrong. The word is KEEP….NOT OBEY! And no, it is not the same meaning. How do we know that? Look at the Greek:
The word TO KEEP in both Hebrew and Greek does NOT mean “to obey” or “do”.
The Hebrew word for KEEP IS ‘Shamar’ in the KJV, NKJV, and NASB Bible translations and means ‘to keep, to observe, to take heed to, to preserve, to be a watchman, and to regard.’
The Greek word for KEEP is ‘teereo’ and means ‘to keep, to guard, to watch, to preserve, to reserve, to take care of, to keep watch over, and to hold fast.’
“Consult all the Greek Lexicons you wish. Take a good look at Moulton and Milligan, Thayer’s, Vines, Liddell and Scott or the Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich Greek lexicons. They all list the meanings of this Greek word teereo as “to keep, to preserve, to observe, to give heed to, to guard, to hold, to not lose, to protect, to hold firmly” but not one of them lists “to obey” or “to do” as being one of the definitions of this Greek word. ”
(Quoted from Will Kinney at http://brandplucked.webs.com/tokeepvstoobey.htm)