John 14:15-17,21-24 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
“’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 Gospel Truth
This was Jesus speaking. This is what he taught consistently. If we love God, if we love Jesus (God the Son), we will keep (obey) his commandments (New Covenant). We will obey his teachings and the teachings of the New Testament apostles which are for us who are believing in Jesus Christ. We will not be those who merely listen to the Word, but we will be doers of the Word. For Jesus Christ called us to obedience. And Paul and the other apostles also called us to obedience to Christ and to his commands.
And if we obey our Lord’s commands we are those who love God, for if we do not obey him we do not love him, and we don’t know him, and he does not know us, and he does not live inside us. And this may sound like works salvation to some people, but it is not. It is what Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).
And Paul taught that that if we obey sin, it leads to death, but if we obey obedience, it leads to righteousness and to sanctification, and its end is eternal life with God. And he taught that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that if we walk according to the flesh that we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. And he taught that if sin is what we practice, we will die in our sins.
And Paul did not teach a one-time belief in Jesus Christ which guarantees the “believer” eternal life with God regardless of how he lives on this earth. Paul warned the believers that we are all going to reap what we sow, and that if we sow to the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. And he taught that God is going to render to each one of us according to our works, and for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. For he warned that neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, etc. will inherit the kingdom of God.
The gospel that Paul taught says that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, that we must no longer live according to the flesh, in practice, but we must walk in holiness and in righteousness. What he taught was ongoing faith and progressive salvation and sanctification which must be lived out in the lives of believers in their walks of faith until the very end for them to have the hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God. This is all throughout his teachings.
And John taught that if we claim to be in fellowship with God but we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin, we lie and we do not practice the truth. But if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in the light of the truth of the gospel that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. And he said that if we say that we know God/Christ, but we do not obey his commandments, we are liars and the truth is not in us. And he taught that if sin is our practice, and if obedience to our Lord and righteousness are not our practice, that we are not born of God but we are of the devil, so we don’t have eternal life.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 2 Tim 1:8-9; 1 Pet 1:5; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 9:28; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Distortions of Truth
In the gatherings of the church here in America, at large, the truth of the gospel is largely not being taught in truth but it is being twisted and distorted. Many preachers are teaching an altered gospel message that is intended to appease the world and human flesh and to not put it to death and to not make any demands for repentance or walks of obedience to the Lord. Even if some of them may speak on repentance it is usually not true repentance but a mere acknowledgement of sin. And obedience, if taught at all, is usually more of a suggestion or a recommendation but not required.
Many of them are giving people the impression that all humans are God’s children and so we are all going to heaven when we die. You hardly hear of anyone saying that their relative who died is on his way to hell. At pretty much every funeral they speak of those who died as them going to a better place or they will name heaven specifically. But not everyone is going to heaven, not even everyone who prays the prayer to receive Christ or who made a profession of faith in Christ at one point in their lives.
Again, we have to go back to what the Scriptures teach, which it appears that most people ignore. They accept certain Scriptures as truth, often ones that are being taught ought of context and thus not in truth. But from what you hear coming from most preachers today they must be ignoring at least half if not more of the New Testament Scriptures which are for us who believe in Jesus Christ. For if you read the Scriptures in context, you can’t miss it that we must walk in obedience and we must repent of our sins.
Yet we have so many preachers and teachers and Bible study leaders and writers of devotions and book authors who are just ignoring most of what the New Testament teaches and they are relying on cherry-picked Scriptures taught out of context from which to build their doctrine of salvation. And so you have the majority of those calling themselves Christians assuming that they have their ticket into heaven because of some one-time decision they made in their lives to believe in Jesus. But that is not what the Scriptures teach. They teach we must walk according to the Spirit and not by the flesh.
So, I would encourage everyone reading this to read the Scriptures in context Matthew to Revelation, and to do so prayerfully, with the honest intention to learn what the Scriptures teach and then to obey them. Read the Old Testament, too, but read it in light of the New Covenant, for we are under the New Covenant. But know what the New Covenant really teaches, which we learn by studying the Scriptures in their full context. For there are many distortions of truth out there that people are buying into. So don’t be tricked by the lies.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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