“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
Scripture Reading – Luke 7:36-50
Our relationship with Christ began the moment we received Him into our hearts as Savior and Lord. In this moment, we made a covenant with Him. We accepted the fact that we could not redeem ourselves and trusted Christ’s works as the basis for our salvation. We confessed that He is our Savior. But we also accepted that He is our Lord. Savior and Lord is a package. We cannot have one without the other. If Jesus is not God, then He was not qualified to save us. If Jesus is not a Savior, then He is not loving, which is the very nature of God. Many of us today, however, only want Jesus as Savior without having Jesus as Lord. We want the certainty of heaven, while keeping control over our lives on earth. Unfortunately, that is not God’s plan.
If we truly love Christ and have accepted Him as our Savior, our entire life’s orientation will change. We will no longer be thinking of how we can gain advantage for ourselves. Knowing the great debt that God paid by forgiving us will cause our hearts to overflow with gratitude. As His humble servants, we will desire to obey His every command. The greatest desire of our heart will be to please God through obedience to Him. In the Scriptures, God has given us clear commands. He has told us that our covenant with Him means that we will reflect His glory to all the nations by obeying Him. The commandments are meant to be easy and not a burden. Jesus tells us, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29). Following Christ means conforming to His will, only then will our souls find rest.
The commands that Jesus gave can be categorized into seven general groups: 1. Repent, believe, and receive the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:15; John 20:22); 2. Be baptized (Matt. 28:18-20); 3. Celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19-20); 4. Love God and one another (Mark 12:29-31); 5. Pray (John 16:24); 6. Give (Luke 6:38); and 7. Make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; John 21:15-17). These seven groups of commandments reflect the very work of Christ, which is to fulfill the Father’s plan of salvation. When we respond to that salvation by declaring our love for God, it initiates a relationship with Him where all who believe will do the work that He does. As a response to our salvation, we obey God by immersing ourselves into the work of salvation, and we proclaim the gospel to those who have yet to receive Him. These commandments are oriented around that reality. The more we love Christ, the more we want to obey Him by doing His works and following His teachings.
We obey the command of the Great Commission to make disciples. This results in people repenting and believing in Christ. Then, they confess that to God and the world through their baptism and participation in the Lord’s Supper. Additionally, they proclaim it to the world by loving God more than money and loving others as they love themselves. This love works continually in their hearts, so they realize that others need this salvation. They pray and give to make that happen.
Your obedience to Christ’s commandments is a key to changing the world. Too many claim to follow Christ, but only want the benefits of a relationship with Him without submitting to His Lordship. Oftentimes, that’s why the church has so little impact on the world. Many have chosen to only believe because it’s advantageous to themselves, rather than thinking what is most important to bring glory to God. Which of Christ’s commandments do you need to obey?