Jesus: Embracing God's Standard of Obedience
God's standard is love, as exemplified by the death of Jesus on the cross. This is the ultimate model of obedience and faith, which Jesus lived out as an example for our moral conduct. It reflects the obedience of faith that we should embody in our daily lives. This article delves into various biblical passages that reveal the essence of God's love and the importance of following Jesus' example by loving others selflessly.
God's Love Defined
John 15:13,17 CSB
No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. This is what I command you: Love one another.
According to the Bible, the greatest form of love is to lay down one's life for others. This is precisely what Jesus did for us, thus setting the standard of love that we should aspire to follow.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 CSB
Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
Living Out God's Love
Matthew 5:43-45 CSB
You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Jesus instructs us to love even our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, thereby showing ourselves to be 'children of our Father in heaven'. This radical love is a testament to our faith and obedience to God.
Matthew 6:14-15 CSB
For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.
Luke 23:34 CSB
Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.
James 2:12-13 CSB
Speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of freedom. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has not shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Philippians 3:8-9 CSB
More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith.
Romans 9:30-33 CSB
What should we say then? Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained righteousness-namely the righteousness that comes from faith. But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not achieved the righteousness of the law. Why is that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written, Look, I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and the one who believes on him will not be put to shame.
Straight into the next verse in the Bible.
Romans 10:1-5 CSB
Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God concerning them is for their salvation.  I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.  Since they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and attempted to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted to God's righteousness.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes,  since Moses writes about the righteousness that is from the law: The one who does these things will live by them.
Emulating Christ’s Love
Ephesians 5:1-2 CSB
Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.
John 13:34-35 CSB
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
1 John 4:9-11 CSB
God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.
Philippians 2:1-8 CSB
If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,  make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.  Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus,  who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited.  Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man,  he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death- even to death on a cross.
Colossians 3:12-14 CSB
Therefore, as God's chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
1 John 3:16-18 CSB
This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has this world's goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God's love reside in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.
Jesus is the standard of obedience, not the Ten Commandments.
Hebrews 1:1-3 CSB
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways.  In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.  The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Colossians 2:2-4,6-10 CSB
I want their hearts to be encouraged and joined together in love, so that they may have all the riches of complete understanding and have the knowledge of God's mystery-Christ.  In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with arguments that sound reasonable.  So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him,  being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.  Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elements of the world, rather than Christ.  For the entire fullness of God's nature dwells bodily in Christ,  and you have been filled by him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 CSB
since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments  and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.
Questions that Challenge Your Current Understanding
- How does the obedience demonstrated by Jesus in His life and death refine our understanding of what true obedience to God looks like?
- How does Jesus' command to "love one another" serve as a comprehensive standard for moral conduct? How might it encompass and go beyond the Ten Commandments?
- Given that Jesus is described as the "radiance of God's glory," how does His sacrifice reflect a deeper level of obedience than simply adhering to laws and commandments?
- Considering the warnings against being deceived by "arguments that sound reasonable," how does a personal relationship with Christ protect against such deception?
- How does Jesus' life and teachings challenge traditional definitions of righteousness based on the law, and how do they shift the focus towards faith and love?
- Colossians 2 mentions that "in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." How does this affirm the supremacy of Christ's teachings over other philosophical or religious teachings?