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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, March 16 2023

If you love me...

Jesus instructed us, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). This is a very clear statement as to what is expected of us, but it is not what millions of traditional Christians believe or practice.

by John LaBissioniere

They have been taught the Christian life can be lived without any obligation to obey God’s laws—His Ten Commandments. Obeying the commandments is viewed as a way to gain salvation by “works.” They support the false idea that God’s grace sets them free from having to do anything other than believe in Jesus as their Savior. To support this erroneous concept, Ephesians 2:8-9 is often quoted, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It is true that no one can be saved by works, since it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s shed blood that we can be purified from sin. However, this does not abolish God’s law. The author of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Moreover, Christ said, “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).

When a young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to obtain eternal life, He told him, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). He then listed several of the Ten Commandments to make it clear what He was referencing (see verses 18-19). True disciples of Christ are therefore obligated to follow His model of obedience to the commandments (1 John 2:6). When Jesus lives within us following repentance, baptism and having received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands, we are to fully and faithfully emulate His example of diligent obedience to His Heavenly Father (Romans 2:4).

Sadly some mainstream Christian ministers have taught that God's laws have been annulled. This teaching is preposterous when we examine what Jesus actually stated about God’s commandments. He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17-18). The word “fulfill” doesn’t mean “destroy” as some theologians would have people believe. When an individual fulfills a commitment, he or she certainly doesn’t abandon that obligation but satisfies it completely!

The very first words Jesus Christ voiced as He began His public ministry? He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). But, repent of what? Sin! The Bible defines sin as breaking the commandments. “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:7 that he “would not have known sin except through the law.” In Romans 7:12 the Apostle Paul wrote, “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

The Apostle Paul understood he was engaged in a daily struggle to keep the commandments even after having repented of sin. He stated in Romans 7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.” The fact is, repentant, converted Christians can and do sin and must wrestle against their own carnal nature as well as the downward pull of sinful society and the devil’s powerful, venomous influence (see 2 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4:25-32; 6:11-18).

Millions, who profess to be Christian, say they know and love Jesus, but they fail to obey the commandments He not only observed, but told them to keep! Christ’s message to them is this, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).