If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (JOHN 14: 15)
A loving obedience to the commands of God is one clear evidence that we’re living by grace. Anyone who thinks, Since God’s love is not conditioned on my obedience, I’m free to live as I please, is not living by grace, nor does he understand grace. What he perceives as grace is really a caricature.
Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll obey His commands. The term command suggests clear direction. We’re told what to do or not do. We are not left in doubt how we’re to live. The commands in the Bible provide a clear set of moral standards.
In the popular philosophy of situation ethics, actions are morally evaluated in terms of a “loving” response to the situation at hand rather than by application of moral absolutes. Situation ethics knows no external, objective standard of behavior; it responds to what seems right at the moment. But Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17: 9, NIV). Anything can be made to “seem right.”
Through “Christianized” situation ethics, all kinds of sinful actions have been committed in the name of “love.” Christians have engaged in illicit sexual intimacy on the pretense that they were acting in love toward a lonely or hurting person. Recently I heard of a man who allegedly conspired to have his incurably ill wife murdered because “she would be happier with Jesus.” This is the type of trap even Christians fall into when we don’t let the commands of God give definition to love. God’s commands provide us this objective standard and, when obeyed, keep us from falling into situation ethics.