Keep Yourselves in His Love

The most repeated phrase in Scripture is “the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever”. It’s no coincidence that Paul ends his great gospel “song” of Romans 1-8 by singing of God’s love: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We must play that song for ourselves, again and again.

The more we listen to the song, the more we notice layers and complexity that we didn’t perceive before. His love endures forever, and yet we are told in Jude 21 to “keep yourselves in his love”. This from our Lord’s own words: “If you keep my commandments, you will abide [or, remain] in my love . . .” (John 15:10). His love endures forever; nothing can separate us from his love; and we must obey his commandments to keep ourselves in his love.

Note well that these are all notes within the same song of God’s love. Like any masterpiece, we can’t pick and choose which notes we keep and which we discard. Remove some notes, and destroy the masterpiece, and the beauty and pleasure it brings to us.

There is comfort, and pleasure in seeing the complexity of God’s love. When we stray, his love endures, in fatherly fire. He does not allow us to keep straying; he brings discipline. His love then does not feel like love; it feels more like wrath. Yet understanding the complexity of his love allows us to tell our hearts in these times, “His steadfast love endures forever, even now.” We need not live in anxiety about his discipline; it hurts, but it is not wrath. It’s fatherly love.

We now have some sense of “keeping ourselves in his love”. For a Christian, there is no possibility of his love NOT enduring forever to us. But there are seasons where his love, to us, looks only like storm clouds and hail. To “keep ourselves in his love” then is not to obey in order to regain His grace, already given freely in Christ. No - we keep ourselves by believing that His love endures, even now, because of Christ, and that He Himself is the place of purest pleasure, deepest joy, happiness unbreakable. In steadfast love He generously gives us Himself. Believing this, though not seeing or feeling it, we obey, and wait.