Obedience is the Highest Form of Giving.
God Loves us whether we obey or not because God Loves His Enemies too (Matthew 5:43 – 44).
The Difference is that God Loves His Enemies “less” (e. g. Judas called ‘friend’ using a weaker Greek Word, in Matthew 26:50) while God Loves His Friends “way More” (e. g. apostle John in John 13:23).
What’s an important definition?
Enemies of God = Those who don’t love Him back or Disobey His Commandments
Friend of God = Those who love Him back and obey His Commandments
A Verse for this Biblical Definition:
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:15, NASB)
The Verse above does not mean that God loves only those who love Him as explained earlier but rather that ‘we only love God back if we keep His Commandments’. Hence, the more Commandments (“Verses”) we obey willingly, the more we love Him.
So, His Love is Greatest Toward “believers who Love Him back obeying Him” (John 14:15) —-> becoming “His Friends” (a Stronger Word in Greek, in John 15:13 – 14) as the Verse below Beautifully Describes:
“Greater Love has no one than this, that one lay down His Life for His Friends.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:13, NASB)
Did you notice that there’s a Verse for each claim made?
Each Verse helps us Understand an Important aspect and by ignoring some Verses, we can easily misinterpret the Bible or come up with illogical conclusions.
So, are we really a ‘Friend of God’?
Peace to you
P/S: Did First Christianity Understand these Verses in such Manner pointing to Christ Centered Universalism?
Yes, to quote from Pages 46 – 47 of the ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ Book:
Did Justin understand Universal Salvation?
Yes (example quote):
“For it had its SALVATION from itself; so that in SAVING the SOUL, God does no great thing. For to be saved is its natural destiny, because it is a part of Himself, being His inspiration. But no thanks are due to one who saves what is his own; for this is to save himself.
For he who SAVES a part himself, saves himself by his own means, lest he become defective in that part; and this is not the act of a good man. For not even when a man does good to HIS CHILDREN and offspring, does one call him a good man; for even the most savage of the wild beasts do so, and indeed willingly endure death, if need be, for the sake of their cubs.
But if a man were to perform the SAME ACTS in behalf of his SLAVES, that man would justly be called good. Wherefore the Saviour also taught us to LOVE our ENEMIES, since, says He, what thank have ye? So that He has shown us that it is a GOOD work not only to love THOSE that are BEGOTTEN of Him, but also THOSE that are WITHOUT [i.e. ‘not’ Begotten of Him, implied]. And what He enjoins upon us, He Himself FIRST of ALL DOES.” (St. Justin Martyr, CHAPTER VIII.–DOES THE BODY CAUSE THE SOUL TO SIN? FRAGMENTS OF THE LOST WORK OF JUSTIN ON THE RESURRECTION)
Please note ‘carefully’ that Justin implies that God Saving ‘His Own Begotten or Children is NOT a big deal’. Justin then proceeds to argue that Christ is above ALL because He Promises to Perform the SAME ACTS toward ‘His Slaves’ too and lastly toward HIS ENEMIES as well in the Beautifully Analogy above —> as the only Context of this Passage is ‘where the SOUL is SAVED eventually in its EXISTENCE’ —-> toward becoming “RESURRECTED in the FLESH’ again —-> in the Context of LOVE and GOODNESS, and ‘not Judgment’ —> toward His ENEMIES too —-> yes, the Context of the passage above proves that the SAME RESURRECTION to SINLESS-NESS being Promised thus in LOVE toward —-> BOTH ‘THOSE that are BEGOTTEN of Him’ —-> and ‘also THOSE that are WITHOUT [i.e. ‘not’ Begotten of Him, implied] —> proving that this must refer to the ‘not explicitly mentioned (though implied) second resurrection of the wicked’ toward ‘sinless-ness’ —> post the Lake of Fire Judgment (which follows after their ‘first resurrection for Judgment’, John 5:28 – 29 —-> and this GOOD and LOVE toward His ENEMIES, in saving ‘their souls to exist’ eventually in a ‘resurrected sinless body’ —> will certainly come to pass, as Justin remarks in faith, ‘He Himself FIRST of ALL DOES’.
Blessed be Lord Jesus Christ for His Unfathomable Love!
Truly, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8).