The true knowledge of the joy and the blessings of the Lord’s Word is a fine thing, yet it is only really known and understood after we do it, and keep it. It is the result of a transformed heart, not a transformed mind, for a mind can be easily changed when a more pleasing answer or explanation come along. As Jesus himself says in John 13:17“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Notice there the requirement of action, not knowledge. Yes, knowing the Word needed initially; but the blessings therein remain inert, until they are carried out in action.
Keeping Christ’s commandments in not only necessary in our Christian life, it is our Christian life! For it is through our exercising of Christ’s commandments in our daily lives that we are blessed; and as se are blesses, we become a blessing to others in the process. For what Jesus spoke in Matthew 8:10b is important to all born-again Christians “You have received freely, freely give.” This does not mean that we need to stop and five all we have to each beggar we meet, for as in Acts 3:6a Peter says “silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you.” And what is a Christian never short of? A Christian is never short of a blessing, or a prayer.
Let us now look at the keeping of the commandments of Jesus, and keeping the Word of Jesus. In particular, the Words of Jesus to His disciples at His farewell address, where the keeping of His commandments was emphasised again and again:
John 14:15-16“If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
John 14:21“He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.”
John 14:23“If a man 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.”
John 15:7“If you abide in Me, and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”
John 15:10“If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, even as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
John 15:14“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
I pray that as you study and meditate on these verses, the Holy Spirit will take them to the deepest part of you, such that you will gain a complete and life changing understanding of the commandments of Jesus, and that this understanding will unleash that within you, which is necessary for the Holy Spirit and His indwelling within you. An understanding of, and a compliance with these commandments of Jesus, is the basic and fundamental requirement for all spiritual blessings from the Lord.
For us to live in the love of Jesus; for us to have power in prayer; for us to have a relationship with God; all depend on our compliance with the commandments of Jesus as cited above. But it is not head knowledge which counts, it is action; it is living the commandments in humility, for all to receive.
To lay hold of the blessings of the Lord; to lay hold of them on a daily basis, can only be achieved when we are in total and absolute obedience to the Risen Christ. Nothing else will do. Anything else will fall short of His requirements for us, it will fall short of His Word.
The will of God is our only way to the Father’s heart. We need to both live in His will and delight in it, as we demonstrated by our obedience to it; as we live it in our hearts and in our lives. Quite simply, keeping the commandments of Jesus is the only way open to us to receive the blessings of God, which He so wants to give us.
The words of First John 2:3-5 clearly confirm and support all the above saying “And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.” If we confess by our mouths to be Christians, born-again or “just Christian,” yet fail to keep His commandments, we are liars and not Christians. John is speaking in simple Greek logic here: “If a Christian, Then commandments are kept”. The logical corollary is also true: “If commandment not kept, Then not a Christian”. This is a test, a definition of what a Christian is. The proof, the only proof that a person is a Christian, is that one keeps the commandments of Jesus.
As First John 3:21-24 says “Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive from 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 who keeps His commandment dwells in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave to us.”
There is no secret withheld from us about this, as to the basis of a true and intimate relationship with God, the maker of heaven and earth. Jesus told us, and told us in explicit and clear language: we need to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, just as He spoke them for us.
First John 5:3-4 confirms this again for us, if such confirmation or clarification is necessary saying: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.”
We may repeat oaths of commitment; we may spend hours in our private prayer closet or praying before the assembles congregations of the Lord; we may give 90% of our income to good causes and the Church; we may be the most humble and pious person ever to have graced our locale; but our professions of love and protestations of our Christ-likeness or whatever, are worthless, unless we demonstrate the keeping of all the commandments of Jesus.
We can have the boldness of God; we can know God and have a relationship with Him; we can abide in God and He in us; we can be born of God and love Him with a love which drives out all fear; we can demonstrate the fruit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control; but all is dependent on one thing and one thing only: that we keep the commandments of Lord Jesus Christ as spoken and recorded in His Word.
Amen and Amen.