If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.~John 15:10 ESV
Works are an interesting thing. The human condition is that we take pride in our good works, and we love to be praised for the things we do well, and acknowledged as someone who DOES. Yet the Bible tells us that all of our works are useless - our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.~ John 3:19
When the sinner contemplates his life, he often thinks..."Look at what I've done. I'm a good person. I don't lie or cheat. I've never murdered anyone. I'm a great parent, a loving child, a good boss, a great employee." Yet the gospel states clearly, NOT BY WORKS.
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. ~Galatians 2:16
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” ~Galatians 3:10
. . . he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, ~Titus 3:5
Sinners are without hope, because they cannot keep the commandments. The Bible teaches us that we must obey God in all things, and it also teaches us that we cannot do so in our own strength. But this is precisely what the sinner attempts to do. "I'll live a clean life. I'll do all sorts of good things." Just a simple contemplation of one's thought life (never mind one's deeds) reveals that he cannot keep the commandments.
So, works are a great hindrance to the sinner. He must come to Christ, who did live a perfect life and die the death he deserved, paying the price for sin and opening the way to the Father. That is the gospel.
Conversely, to the Believer, works are a blessing and a strength. By works, faith is made perfect. By works, the union with Christ is cemented, and the soul is established and more deeply rooted in the love of God. (see James 2).
When a believer learns what it is to abide in Christ, he begins to think, to feel, to will what Jesus thought, felt and willed. His desire is to be holy like Jesus.
"To live the life of Christ means to him to be delivered from the life of self; the will of Christ is to him the only path of liberty from the slavery of his own self-will." ~p.146, Abiding in Christ, Chapter 24. (Go here to read online.)
There is no true fellowship with God without delight in His will. As a believer matures and grows in grace, he begins to see the commandments of God as just as precious as His promises. Oh, how love I thy law... it is my meditation all the day!
Not Just a Fire Escape
If salvation is just a way of personal safety, an escape from future judgment and the everlasting fire of hell, a sinner can be nonchalant about obedience. "I'm saved...so I can live the way I want to." If he has that attitude, he ought to examine his "salvation" more closely, because he is in great danger.
True Salvation is Restoration
The true meaning of salvation is a restoration to communion with GOD. The God who created the universe and walked with our first parents in the Garden desires to walk with His children, even today. That communion is restored by saving faith in the Son. True salvation also means the conformity of the sinner to Christ... we are made Christ-like as we abide in His love.
Christ was Obedient
Christ Himself, in order to abide in His Father's love, was obedient. In the life He led on earth, obedience was a solemn reality.
"The dark and awful power that led humankind to revolt from God tempted Him too. To Him, as with all men, its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray. He suffered, being tempted. He spoke very distinctly of not seeking to do His own will. This was a surrender He had to make continually. He made the keeping of the Father's commandments the distinct object of His life, and so did He abide in His love. He plainly tells us, "I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him." (John 8:28-29)." ~Abiding in Christ, p.147
Sign of a Spiritual Life
Keeping His commandments is a sure sign of the life He inspires. If we love God and abide in Him, we'll be obedient.
Keep His Commandments
- Study the Word to understand the Lord's will
- Meditate on His precepts
- Pray fervently to discover every sin
- Mortify the flesh - yield yourself in complete surrender to obey all that the Lord has said
Be careful about disobedience, even in the little things.
- dulls the conscience
- darkens the soul
- deadens our spiritual energies
You are a soldier of Christ. Ask for nothing but the orders of your Commander. Each new surrender and sacrifice will lead you to a deeper union with your Saviour. If you keep His commandments, you will abide in Him, just as He kept the Father's commandments and lived abiding in His love.