So far, a lot of my writing has been pretty heavily focused on legalism and my escape from it. I’ve written titles like The Commandments of Men and Are Spiritual Leaders requiring Too Much?, but I also want to recognize and focus on the fact that Christ does indeed have commandments for New Testament believers to follow.
Our Christian walk is filled with questions. Just type into Google search ‘is it ok for christians to…’ and look at all the results or auto suggestions. There is a plethora of do and do not’s, both Biblical, and an unending tide of opinion. But one thing is true, the Word.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. – John 14:15, KJV
Jesus, who is our ultimate leader, our High Priest and Chief Shepherd gave us the answer in how to keep His commandments. Love Him! In loving Him, we place the Gospel ahead of ourselves. It’s purpose, mission and goals are higher than our temporal dreams. In loving Him, we fulfill the plan He set forth which is to build the body of Christ, His Bride.
In fact, when the Jews, the ultimate keeper of laws and commandments asked Christ, which is the greatest commandment (no doubt referencing the 10 Commandments) our Lord answered;
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matthew 22:36-39, KJV
Jesus also gave us the utmost promise of inheritance by obeying his Word;
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; – John 14:15,16 KJV
Jesus promised that Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost if we abide in his commandments due to our love for Him. Our love stems from knowing that He first loved us (I John 4:19) and then shed His own blood for our redemption. How great then is our responsibility to love Him and obey Him?
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. – I John 3:19-24, KJV
What is His Commandments?
Love. Love God, love all of those around you, both believer and unbeliever. Love is Charity (charity is not the transfer of money from those who have money to those who have no money) and the setting aside of self for the good of others. It is Christ’s example to us, that he laid down his life for ours.
And this is the commandment that we have from him: the person who loves God must also love his brother. – I John 4:21, ISV
Love those in your community, neighborhoods, workplace, etc. Love is showing that you value them as a person, as a soul God wants to touch. You are thankful for them and their impact on your life and the opportunity they give you to display Christ.
His commandments were simple! Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor! That means you’ll follow Christ and his righteousness out of a willing heart, not under legislated rules and regulations or compulsion, but a desire to please Him. It means you’ll set the example for the unbeliever, by being fair, equitable and kind to all. Had Jesus been like some modern Christians I know, the adulteress that was brought before him would have had a dramatically different outcome. See my article on Christian Judgementalism.
In my background, you stayed clear of non-church people. Certainly you could wave, shake hands, etc, but you didn’t fellowship or spend time with those people. They were tainted and until they joined the Church and obeyed every church rule, you couldn’t risk them influencing you.
Praise God for his Word. We truly were meant to be the light set upon a hill, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Some of the most sincere people I know I judged harshly because of my ‘faith’. Called them ‘fake Christians’, I passed judgement on their eternity upon what I had been taught. A Christian with a necklace or a ring? Fake and unsaved! A Christian wearing makeup or colored hair? Fake and unsaved!
Love didn’t cast judgment. Christ is the only judge, of the quick (alive) and the dead. I’m learning to simply love, Him and people, that by my attitude others may see Christ. I recently took a work client out to lunch (we had never met in person before) and when we sat down this man said, ‘You are a Christian aren’t you? I could tell from the moment we sat down’.
This should be our hope, that others may see Christ in us and give us the opportunity to talk about His Love for us!