I can’t speak for other countries, but Christians in the U.S. are used to hearing from church leaders how salvation is completely out of our hands and there’s nothing we can do to save ourselves. This is true and it’s good news. But what often gets overlooked is that Jesus did still have expectations for us. He didn’t want us to coast and focus on ourselves just because we have the freedom of being saved. We’re still expected to honor and follow the other lessons and messages he gave us. If we ignore all his other teachings and grow complacent, this passage seems to say that while our salvation won’t be in jeopardy, Jesus won’t count us among his friends.
So how do we follow his commands and be his friend? He says it twice in these verses. Love each other. Throughout all his teachings, he passed on numerous important lessons, but all of them can be boiled down to showing love to our siblings in Christ. All sorts of debates can be had about what loving each other looks like in practice, but Jesus answered that already, too. “Love each other as I have loved you.” Any question we may have about how to best love our neighbor can be clarified through following Jesus’s example. It’s not always easy and we will fail. But if we want to be a friend of Jesus, he’s clear that he expects us to do our best.
Holy Father, we thank you that we have the opportunity to be your Son’s friends. Please keep us mindful to never become complacent in our salvation and don’t let us forget the expectations Jesus set down for us, Amen.
Written by Preston Thiemann
Preston Thiemann married his wife, Rachel, in September 2017. They live here in Lincoln. He is the Web Content Coordinator for the ASEM Marketing team at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he’s worked since April 2015. At Sheridan, he also plays guitar on the Praise Band. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching movies and spending time with friends.