Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. —John 14:23
Those who want to obey God, but can’t, already possess a good will, although it is small and weak. But they are able to obey when they obtain a strong and robust will. When the martyrs obeyed the great commandments, they acted by a great will—that is, with great love. The Lord speaks of this great love: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” . . . The Apostle Peter didn’t possess this love when he fearfully denied the Lord three times. “There is no fear in love,” says John the Evangelist in his first epistle, “but perfect love casteth out fear.” Even though Peter’s love was small and imperfect, it was still present when he said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Thy sake.” Peter believed he could carry out what he felt he was willing to do by himself. . . . However, God works in us so that we can have the will to obey Once we have this will, God works with us to perfect us. The apostle Paul says, “I am confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Therefore, God operates without us so that we can will to obey but when we act on our will, He cooperates with us.
All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.
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