“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
(John 14:15 NIV)
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Obedience to God is an important result of our salvation. We are not saved by obedience to God’s commands, rather we obey because we are saved. As we saw previously, obedience is a natural result of our love for God:
Jesus answered 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 home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 14:23-24)
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. (1John 5:3)
We must not follow the example of the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Jesus rebuked them in Matthew 23 because they focused on an outward appearance of righteousness, rather than having true inward righteousness. Don’t be deceived; God knows your heart. God wants you to have an inward righteousness that only comes from him:
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Romans 3:20-22 NIV)
…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:9 NIV)
Whether or not we are living like God calls us to live is a measure of our own spiritual health. Consider your own life. How are you doing regarding the last few chapters?
- Do your actions show that you love your neighbor?
- Do you forgive those who sin against you?
- Do you worship, rejoice, and give thanks to God?
- Do you pray on all occasions?
- Do you love God’s word? Do you spend time in it?
- Do you have fellowship with other believers?
- Do you desire to obey God in all things?
If you judge yourself to be weak on most of these points, I recommend that you reconsider chapter 16 “What Must I Do to be Saved?” and be sure that you understand God’s marvelous grace, which is the subject of the next section.
For Further Reflection
Romans 6:16-23: Slaves of righteousness.
2Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves.
Philippians 3:1-16: Righteousness from God.
Hebrews 10:26-31: If we go on sinning deliberately…
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