John 14:21-24 ESV
“’Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ 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.’”
The commandments of the Lord Jesus are his teachings and the teachings of his New Testament apostles, and they are the Scriptures, as a whole, as applied to Christians under the New Covenant. His commandments are his gospel. And to keep his commandments is to observe, heed, and obey them. And it is to spiritually guard and persevere them, to keep watch over them.
If we follow his commandments to us, his saints, we are those who are loving him. We take pleasure in him, we long for him, we esteem him, and we prefer him and what he prefers above all else. We actively are doing what the Lord prefers by his power and direction. And we prefer having Christ living his life through us and us no longer in control of our own lives.
This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. So, if we are not walking in obedience to his commands, and if we are not preferring what he prefers, and if we want to be in control of our own lives, and if we are not interested in Jesus living his life through us, we are not actively believing in him as Lord and Savior of our lives.
And please know this here. Keeping (obeying, preserving) the Lord’s commands is not optional for the believer in Jesus. If we keep the Lord’s commandments, we love him, and we will be loved by the Father, and Jesus will love us and manifest himself to us. And God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ, will come to us and make their home with us.
“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” (1 John 2:3-6 ESV).
Now, this is not teaching that we must be perfect, but it is teaching that to know Jesus is to walk in obedience to his commands, and it is to follow him in his footsteps wherever he leads us. It is to emulate him, to be like him, which is a process of being conformed to his likeness. And lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for deliberate and habitual sin against God.
“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7 ESV).
“Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:7-8 ESV).
And it isn’t just Jesus and the Apostle John who taught these things, but the Apostle Paul taught the same. He said that if we make sin our practice we will not inherit the kingdom of God. He said we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (corruption). But if we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life.
He said that the truth that is in Christ Jesus, which we should have been taught, is that we are to put off our old self, be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and we are to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. For, sexual immorality and all impurity must not even be named among us who are God’s holy people.
For, the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. For, Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
[Gal 5:16-24; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6 & 8]
John 14:25-27 ESV
“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, he was with his followers in person, but he was only with people in one location at a time. But when he died on the cross for our sins, and then he was resurrected from the dead, and he ascended back to heaven, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower his servants, his followers, so now he lives within us all the time.
So, we now have God living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and he gives us all that we need to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God. He helps us to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands. And He empowers us, and he strengthens us to say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God and to his righteousness. So, we aren’t out there on our own.
So, there are no excuses for any of us to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin against God, although I have certainly heard many excuses from those who do not want to obey the Lord. For, if we are in Christ Jesus, via genuine faith in him, we have been delivered from the power and control of sin over our lives so we can now be slaves of God and his righteousness.
So, when we are tempted to sin against God, or when we are tempted to be afraid, we can know that God is living within us giving us all we need to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. We don’t have to fear any people or illnesses or persecution or what man might do to us or say about us. We just need to trust Jesus.
Stand by Me
By Ben E. King
The former work, a spiritual, “Stand by Me, Father,” off of which this song is partially based, was partially based off Psalms 46:2-3
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No, I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
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