Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
As it relates to the Lord Jesus Christ, there are only two types of people in this world:
- Those who love Him
- Those who hate Him
There is no other alternative, no middle ground. Those who would imagine that there is are utterly deluded, for such an idea directly contradicts the testimony of Holy Scripture. Surely the Word of the Creator of all things and Judge of all the earth must stand—let every man be a liar! He has explicitly declared that one is either with or against Him. All who are not with Him are against Him. All who do not love Him, hate Him.
If this is the case, it is imperative that we identify precisely what loving Him entails. The only thing that matters is how He Himself defines what it is to love Him, and who He recognizes as loving or hating Him. Simply claiming or even sincerely believing that you love Him means absolutely nothing if your standard of love does not match His own infallible testimony, which He has provided:
John 14:15, 21-24 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. … He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. … If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.
The conclusion, provided by the Lord Himself, is this: only those who have devoted themselves to the teaching and commandments of Jesus Christ—not only to hear them but also to practice them (Matthew 7:24-27)—can be said to love Him in truth. It is not absolute, legal, moral perfection that the Lord requires of His disciples (it is He alone who provides that), but a humble heart and a broken spirit that earnestly desires to serve Him, however imperfectly (Isaiah 66:2), and one that trusts not in its own obedience, but in the perfect work of Christ, alone. Anyone and everyone who does not pursue the Lord Jesus in this manner, who remains willfully ignorant and disobedient to His teaching and commandments, does not love Christ, possesses no true faith, but actively opposes and hates Him.
1 John 2:3-5 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.
There are millions of people who profess to love Jesus and yet want nothing to do with His commandments. As the text declares, these people are liars. They do not love Jesus; they hate Him. They love the benefits that accompany Him (e.g., eternal life in heaven, deliverance from hell, etc.), but as for Him—His ways, His commandments, His authority over their lives—they want none of it. They will take His blessings, but they will not have Him to rule over them. The Lord Himself does not love such rebels, for He has threatened to slaughter them on His return:
Luke 19:27 These enemies of Mine, who did not want Me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in My presence.
To such the Lord Jesus asks, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46). A lord is one with authority and ownership over others. It is nonsensical and an affront to Christ for one to call Him Lord while refusing to walk in cheerful obedience to His will and commandments; it is no different than the Roman soldiers mockingly hailing Him as Lord. It is plain evidence that one does not have saving faith, for they do not believe that Christ is Lord. Such people have miserably deluded themselves, for Christ has given a stern warning that those who call Him, "Lord, Lord," and yet are not committed to the will of God, but who instead practice lawlessness, will be rejected and disowned by Him on the day of judgment, and cast into the fiery hell at last (Matthew 7:21-23).
The Lord Jesus leaves us with only two options:
Either you publicly own Him as your Lord—receiving Him as Lord in faith and love, delighting and endeavoring to walk, by the strength He provides by His Spirit, in His will and commandments, and renouncing your own ways and the ways of this world (Psalm 1:1-2).
Or, if such a narrow life of service to the King does not interest you, but seems rather burdensome, overbearing, and repulsive, and you would much rather serve yourself and pursue your own way, then you must cease calling Him Lord—for such a claim is nothing but a lie. Go on and serve all manner of idols to your heart's content, taking your fill of this world and all of its pleasures, while it lasts!
1 Kings 18:21 How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.
Joshua 24:14-15 Fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
Just know this: everyone who does not love the Lord Jesus Christ shall certainly be damned:
1 Corinthians 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.