For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:14–15
You can see the love of God most clearly in Jesus Christ. In Jesus you see perfect love: undeserved, unrestrained, and unrelenting. It was his love that secured your salvation, and it is his love that moves you to action. Have you forgotten this love?
The love of Jesus for his people was of the highest order (John 15:13). He laid down his life for his friends—unworthy sinners who needed redemption. By his loving and sacrificial death you are rescued from sin and hell and a powerless life of futility. Do you see it? Christ died so that you might live! Those for whom Jesus has died are empowered to live for him instead of for themselves.
This is important because even though your heart and mind work like idol factories and you are prone to wander, you can, by God’s grace, live for the glory of your Savior. The driving force behind it is the love of Jesus. It compels you. It is what will motivate you. Do you find yourself spiritually lethargic? Bored in the faith? Weak in doing what God calls you to do? Then return to the work of Jesus, to the demonstration of his divine love, and you will find that you can’t help but be moved.
To be moved by the love of Jesus is not the arousing of sentimentality. It doesn’t mean you merely feel something in your heart. It means that your heart and will are bound together in joy and love, producing gospel obedience (Rom. 1:5). His love influences, leads, and controls. Perhaps the simplest reason your faith is small, your love is weak, and your obedience is sparse is because you have lost sight of the love of Jesus for you.
You don’t fade in your love for Christ without first forgetting his love for you (Rev. 2:4). Do not lose sight of Christ’s sacrificial affection for you. It is what saved you and what will sustain you, and it will strengthen you to live for him.
"For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous." - Romans 5:19
Without perfect obedience there is no hope of heaven, no peace with God. Obedience is a critical aspect of faith. God commands you to obey. He has given his law that you might know his character and ways. Yet you have been disobedient. What is your hope before God if he requires perfect righteousness? Your hope is not your own obedience, but the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Adam represented all of humanity. He was the first father—the head of the human race. But the representative rebelled. He failed in obedience, and his act of defiance against God made all humanity sinful. By nature, you are “in Adam.” You have inherited from him a nature that is unrighteous and rebellious. In and of yourself you have no obedience to offer to God. But Jesus, the Second Adam, is the representative of all who believe. By faith in him you are united to a new head, and by his obedience you are counted as righteous. This is the heart of the gospel, the foundation of your relationship with God. You are saved by Jesus’s perfect obedience to God the Father. Obedience matters.
But obedience is not only of interest for our justification. You have learned obedience through the gospel. God commands it, Jesus fulfills it and models it, and you learn it. As one who has been forgiven and counted as righteous, you delight in God’s ways (Ps. 40:8), no longer fearing condemnation. And by faith you now obey (Rom. 1:5), however incomplete your obedience is.
It’s true that your obedience is not perfect. Yet God delights in you through Jesus Christ, and he delights in your obedience through him as well (Ps. 51:16–19). Do not despair over the frailness of your obedience. God has accepted you and your works on the basis of Jesus’s obedience. So rejoice and work hard, knowing that who you are and what you do are now pleasing to the Lord.
Excerpt from Experiencing the Trinity: The Grace of God for the People of God by Joe Thorn