Oh That my Ways May be Steadfast

Psalms 119:1-8 ESV

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!”

The Commands of God

Under the Old Covenant relationship God had with his people of that time, the commandments of God included multiple ceremonial, liturgical, sacrificial and purification laws, as well as dietary laws and restrictions. Under the New Covenant relationship God now has with his people (who are believers in Jesus Christ), he did away with all those ceremonial and sacrificial laws. But he retained his moral laws which he repeated for us under the New Covenant. But obedience to his commands is still required of us.

Jesus Christ, when he walked the earth, summarized the law and the prophets into two commands:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).

If we take this seriously, and if we apply its truths to our daily walks of faith, we will no longer live according to the flesh, doing what our flesh desires as a matter of practice. But we will put our lives of sin behind us, by the grace of God, and we will now follow our Lord in obedience to his ways. And the New Testament is filled with all kinds of instructions to us who are followers of Jesus Christ with regard to how we ought to live as followers of Jesus.

Loving God Wholeheartedly

For if we truly love God wholeheartedly, with our whole being, and if we truly love other humans as we love ourselves and take care of ourselves, provided that we do love ourselves (in a right sense), then we are not going to willfully, deliberately, habitually, and/or premeditatedly sin against God and other humans. We will not do to other humans willfully what we know is going to cause them true harm, like in cheating, stealing, murdering, hating, slandering, committing adultery, tricking, manipulating, and lying, etc.

And this “love” is not human-based love. It is not based in feelings or desire or circumstances. It is a choice of the will. And it is shown by what we do, not by what we feel or by what we say (if what we say is not followed up with the right actions). We may not feel love for some people, perhaps because they treat us badly, but we can still love them as a choice of our will with the love of God that is within us and by doing for them what is loving and kind, according to the will of God, not according to the will of man.

And what we need to know here is that obeying the commands of God (New Covenant) is not optional for the true believer in Jesus Christ. For Jesus said that if we love him that we will keep (obey, conform to) his commandments, and that if we do not obey his commands that we do not love him. But if we do keep his commandments then we abide in his love and we will be loved by God the Father and by Jesus and they will make their home with us.

He also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matt 7:21-23). If we love and obey him, we will have eternal life. If we do not obey him we will not have eternal life (Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 10:27-30; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10).

And Paul and the other apostles definitely taught the same thing. For if we claim to know God/Jesus, but we don’t obey him, then we are liars and the truth is not in us. And if we are living still as slaves to sin, we will die in our sins, but if we obey our Lord, we will have eternal life (1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:16; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13).

Staying True to God’s Word

Yet, there are many people within the gatherings of the church today who are not teaching obedience to our Lord’s commands, and who are not instructing Christians in godly and holy living, and who are not teaching them that they must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, by God’s grace, through faith, in the power of God.

Their idea of God and of Jesus Christ (God the Son) and of the teachings of Christ and of his New Testament apostles is skewed. It is twisted toward the direction of appeasing the sinful flesh rather than putting it to death. And so they teach a gospel that is of man, not of God, which teaches that we can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus, have all our sins forgiven, and have heaven guaranteed us when we die, but that it does not have to change how we live. So they are perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality.

So, we need to be students of the New Testament Scriptures, in particular, so that we know what they teach us regarding what constitutes genuine faith in Jesus Christ, and true heart and life conversion, so that we obey the word of God for the church, and so we don’t keep on living in sin thinking that heaven is now secured for us. For it isn’t if we are not walking by faith in obedience to the Lord and in the forsaking of our sinful practices.

So, we need to stay true to the word of God and to the teachings of Jesus and of his New Testament apostles, taught in full context. We need to be people of God who walk in the ways of the Lord in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God living within us. This should be what we desire. We should not be trying to find “wiggle room” around our Lord’s commands to us so that we can keep on in our habitual sins.

We need to be immovable when it comes to our walks of faith, with regard to our love for our Lord and our commitment to obey him. And we need to live upright lives, in integrity, and in purity of devotion to our Lord. And this should be our heart’s desire out of pure love and devotion to our God. And this is possible to live like this by God’s Spirit, in accordance with the Scriptures, and in the power and strength of our Lord living within us.

[Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Pet 2:24; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

I Shall Not Be Moved

By John T. Benson, Sr (1861-1930)

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved;
In my Christ abiding, I shall not be moved;
In His love I’m hiding, I shall not be moved;

If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not be moved;
On His word I’m feeding, I shall not be moved;
He’s the One that’s leading, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

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