Doing Life Backwards Causes Us To Fail – by Edward Kurath

Rear view of a young woman holding a paint roller“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10 NKJV).

This is a typical English translation.  It implies that if we keep God’s commandments, we will abide in His love.

If this is correct, then this implies that God loves Jesus because Jesus keeps His commandments.  After all, Jesus is here making a parallel between His relationship with the Father and our relationship with the Father (“just as?). 

So then God’s love of Jesus is conditional? What an affront to God!

Fortunately, this translation of the Greek is in error.  It is backwards.  What the Greek really says is that if we abide in God’s love, we will keep His commandments.    Keeping His commandments is the result, not the cause.  In the Greek, keeping God’s commands is in the “accusative” case, what in English is referred to as the direct object.  The direct object (the effect) receives the action of the subject (the cause).

In the typical English translation, the cause and effect are reversed. 

What Jesus is really saying is that the reason He keeps God’s commandments is because of the presence of God’s love in Him.  He has a “good root” in Him which impels Him to live a Godly life.  Likewise (“just as”), if we have a “good root” (Jesus in us), then we will keep God’s commandments, not the other way around.

The horse is supposed to pull the cart.

Tragically, the typical English translation impels believers to strive to keep God’s commandments so that God will love them.  They are doomed to failure, because we can’t love God by trying hard.  If we could do it, Jesus died in vain.

How do we get Jesus “in us?”  That is what my book “I Will Give You Rest” explains.


Copyright 2012. This article is posted here by permission of Ed Kurath, Please contact for forward and reprint permissions.

11 comments on “Doing Life Backwards Causes Us To Fail – by Edward Kurath

  1. The Old Covenant was still in force when Jesus shared this with His disciples. They were not yet “equipped” to grasp the “language” of the new creation. They would find the internal capacity to fulfill the law after Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension, and after He poured out His Spirit at Pentecost. No matter how governed the Adamic nature is, even though one might choose good fruit over evil fruit, death is in the seed. Wrong tree; wrong root.

    • exactly ! most christians are unaware that they are still feeding from the old root , plus mans christianity is trying to be an end in itself , or , the branch is trying to abide in itself , and its not working , theres no fruit , we need to be rooted and grounded in agape , not christianity .

  2. Good insight! Question for you. What bible version do you deem most accuate? Which study helps besides Strongs do you use most frequently?

    • Hi Susan, there is a difference between what I might use devotionally (I don’t think it matters too much), and what I might use for study and teach from. All translations have biases as no one, other than God is 100% objective, and to claim we are 100% objective in our efforts, is fundamentally, a preposterous/blasphemous idea. I’m not 100% objective, and no one else is either. I do my own study from original languages, compare to many translations, recognize biases when they are there, try to recognize my own, mix study with meditation and prayer, and preach/teach my convictions. I use Strong’s very sparingly. It is over 100 years old and for beginning or entry level study, or on “non controversial words and issues”, it is an “ok” place to start, but I never base ANYTHING solely on a Strong’s definition. There are many, many discoveries and developments in understanding that have occurred in the last 100 years that make Strong’s dated, and in some places, just flat-out wrong.

  3. Very good! Moreover, the word for “if” in Greek is “εἰ” a more definite word, unlike “ἐάν”, always precedes fact. It’s also interesting to note that Christ doesn’t leave us to guess what this command is. He tells us it is to love one another (verse 12, 17). So basically, Jesus’ involvement in the dynamic sphere of the love of the Father, caused Him to respond in “obedience” by loving us, and thereby including us in it, our response in turn will be to draw others into this sphere of love. Amazing, isn’t it?


  4. Great post – yes, it is God’s love for us and Christ in us that allows us to do anything in service and ministry. What arrogance to think that any of us can stand in our efforts for God, let alone do things with complete obedience. Our works can not and do not save us (Eph 2:8,9) neither are we able to do anything on our own (…for apart from me you can do NOTHING, John 15:5)

    I love what John communicates in his letters, especially I John, where he is so clear in describing how it is the love of God and the working of the Holy Spirit in us that makes the difference. Him in us, moving through us is what it is about.

    Paul also was clear on this – Christ in us (Col 1:27) and how we have treasure in earthen vessels which clearly demonstrates the power is from God and not from us (2 Cor 4:7)

  5. Great stuff including the comments- Me personally I was turned of by the sales pitch for the book at the end. I do marketing and it is the world system to give you a taste then require you to pay for more. I understand I do not know the authors heart I am just pointing to an appearance of retailing Jesus

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