Yes, I know, this is another long post and I apologize for that, but having a picture of the totality of Jesus’s Commandments is important. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
There are a lot of things that Jesus told us to do. Some of His commandments are individualized and some are in a summary form. Keeping the commandments of Jesus begins with recognizing what they are. Sometimes we forget about the totality of what Jesus told us. Sometimes we focus on one aspect and overlook others, but these following verses are an incomplete selection of what Jesus specifically said. Just like being under The Law, the realization of what Jesus told us to do can be staggering in its totality. Read through them and then I’ll pick this up again at the bottom of the partial list.
“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
- Follow Me
“And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:11–12).
- Let Your Light Shine
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
- Honor God’s Law
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
- Be Reconciled
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift” (Matthew 5:23–25).
- Do Not Lust
“But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:28–30).
- Keep Your Word
“Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).
- Go the Second Mile
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:38–42).
- Love Your Enemies
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:44–46).
- Be Perfect
“If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:46–48).
- Practice Secret Disciplines
“. . . When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. . . . When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. . . . When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:1–18).
- Lay Up Treasures
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
- Seek God’s Kingdom
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
- Judge Not
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:1–3).
- Do Not Cast Pearls
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).
- Ask, Seek, Knock
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7–8).
- Do Unto Others
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
- Choose the Narrow Way
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).
- Beware of False Prophets
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:15–16).
- Pray for Laborers
“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).
- Be Wise as Serpents
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
- Fear Not
“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
- Hear God’s Voice
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15).
- Take My Yoke
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
- Honor Your Parents
“For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, he that curseth father or mother, let him die the death” (Matthew 15:4).
- Beware of Leaven
“Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6).
- Deny Yourself
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” (Luke 9:23–25).
- Despise Not Little Ones
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
- Go to Offenders
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican” (Matthew 18:15–17).
- Beware of Covetousness
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
- Forgive Offenders
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22).
- Honor Marriage
“And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).
- Be a Servant
“. . . Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28).
- Ask in Faith
“Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea: it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:21–22).
- Bring In the Poor
“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12–14).
- Render to Caesar
“Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:19–21).
- Love the Lord
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37–38).
- Love Your Neighbor
“And the second [commandment] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:39–40).
- Await My Return
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42–44).
- Take, Eat, and Drink
“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26–28).
- Be Born Again
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:5–7).
- Keep My Commandments
“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
- Watch and Pray
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
- Feed My Sheep
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (John 21:15–16).
- Baptize My Disciples
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19).
- Receive God’s Power
“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
- Make Disciples
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19–20).
- Love One Another
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)
Many of us have tried to be like Jesus but if you are like me, I found that on my best day I could not perfectly be like Jesus. When we look to ourselves to live the Christian life we find ourselves utterly incapable and unable to do it and the standard answer to just try harder just doesn’t cut it. As we look in Scripture we cannot help but be overwhelmed with the reality that God is calling us to live a life that we simply, in our own strength, could never live. I have seen that in my own striving and trying to be like Christ in my own strength simply leads to me failing. So what is the answer? If this Christian life is just based on us giving it our best shot then we should just give up now because we cannot do it. Where is our hope then?
I believe that God allows us and wants us to come to the point of despairing of ourselves because until we utterly despair of our own ability, we will continue to strive in the flesh. So again, what is the answer? How is this Christian life we are indeed called to live even possible?
I believe we find the glorious answer in Colossians 1:26-27:
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”
What a beautiful reality that the truth of the Christian life is Christ IN us living the Christian life through us! Now there is hope, because the Christian life no longer depends on my striving but rather on the life of Jesus Christ that dwells in me.
Just like The Law was given to bring us to the awareness that we needed to be saved by someone who could do for us what we in ourselves could not do, in like manner, the commandments of Jesus should bring us to the same awareness, or at least, for me it does. My dependency on Jesus is total. Remember that Jesus said that without Him we could do nothing (John 15:5). I start each day acknowledging this in prayer. The difference between myself, in the flesh, and God is like day and night and my oneness with Him depends upon His grace towards me. I ask for grace to keep my hand in His daily.
In 1 Peter 1:4 we read: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” We have been made partakers of the divine nature in Christ Jesus. Not just observers of the divine nature or just copiers of the divine nature but actually partakers! As believers in Jesus Christ we are made to partake of His very nature!
God does not call us to just strive in our flesh to be like Him. He gives us the life of His Son Jesus Christ and Christ as the power of God, lives His overcoming, resurrection life through us and in us! Without the reality of Christ in us this Christian life does not even make sense!
It is not about us trying but rather it is about us dying and Jesus Christ living His life in us and through us. And our dying to self can only be accomplished if we are yoked to Jesus. I see that dying as something which is progressive from my perspective but already achieved from God’s perspective, because of Jesus. A young child may not fully realise what they have been born into but that does not negate the reality of their birthright. For we who believe, Jesus is our birthright.
We read in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” If you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, you have died in Christ, not physically but spiritually and so have I. At some point in time, we have to realize that our problem is profoundly bigger than just the sinful things that we do. The problem is who we are: we are sinners. It is our very nature. Therefore the cross had to deal with more than just the sinful things I have done, it also had to deal with me and my arrogant self that thought I could do so much for God in my own strength. On the cross not only did Jesus conquer death, hell, and the grave, but he also conquered me.
In Christ we died but it does not stop there. In Christ we have been resurrected and it is no longer us who lives any more but Christ who lives in us. If I were to sum up the Gospel in just four words they would be these: “yet not I, but Christ”. Christ lives in us! This is the only way the Christian life is possible.
Time and time again I have my seen my best efforts at self improvement led to disappointment and disaster because it was not improvement God was looking for but rather it was a total overhaul. God was not looking to improve me or make me a better person but rather He was wanting me to receive the reality of my death with Him that He might bring forth the glorious resurrection life of His Son through me.
Now my hope is not in my best efforts to be a good Christian but rather my hope is set on my resurrected Lord who lives inside of me. Remember in Christ we died and this is good news because someone who is dead is free from sin. “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Romans 6:7) Because we died in Christ we have been set free from sin and we have also been raised with Him to newness of life.
That does not mean that sin is no longer there, we know indeed that it is, but we are freed from the consequences of sin. We also know that if we sin and confess our sin, that these sins are also forgiven (1 John 1:9). Does that mean that we in our flesh can willfully sin and not worry about it? Paul deals with that and the answer is no (Romans 6:14-16). The unavoidable reality of having Christ live within us is that we are yoked to Him. It’s a change in mindset, a new realization, an ever increasing awareness of our dependency in Him.
In John 15 we see that our relationship to the Lord is like that of a branch in a vine. The branch does not bear fruit by striving or trying but rather by simply resting in the vine and having the life of the vine flow through us. The life of the branch is one of the branch continually receiving life from the vine and our life as believers is found by continually abiding in Christ who is our life. It not by striving or trying but rather abiding in the Vine. Remember: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). It is not you that work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure but rather it is God that works in you.
So how does that work out on a practical basis?
Jesus Christ is the living Word and as we meditate on the written Word we are communing and having fellowship with the living Word Jesus Christ. As we meditate on the Word it comes in and changes us from the inside out. Change happens in my life not by me striving to change myself but rather by me realizing my total inability to do anything in my own strength and casting myself in total dependence on Jesus Christ who is my life and by His strength as I meditate on His Word, His Word brings change in my life. It’s interesting on how the meaning of the Sabbath points to this very same realization and reality.
I wrote this post because I see a lot of confusion with regard to how sin within our lives now, factors into being freed from The Law and our need to follow the Commandments of Jesus. Jesus Himself is our fulfilment of The Law. Jesus Himself is our fulfilment of His commandments. Walking in the Spirit is us being obedient to Jesus living in us. It is both progressive and already completed, progressive on our part, as we increasing enter into our dependence on Him, from grace to grace and yet totally completed in Jesus at the same time.
1 Corinthians 15:23-28 NASB
“But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Anyway, that is the big picture that I see, from what I read and understand of God’s Word. As we all know, I am no theologian or scholar, so if you think I am wrong I’m willing to listen.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!