The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
New Testament Commandments
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
+ The Teachings of Jesus Christ +
There are many New Testament Commandments given to Christians. Obedience to these commandments reveal the believers’ love for their Lord and Savior (John 13:24-25; 14:15, 21-24; 15:10, 14). Christ’s commandments are the Biblical principles His church is to live by. Our abiding in Christ is not seen by our singing His praises, but by obeying His commandments (John 15:10). Many claim salvation today and care not for God’s commandments. This is contrary to New Testament teachings. Another author that lived between 1902 and 1987, listed 1,050 New Testament Commandments in his reference Bible. It is the responsibility of every Christian to know and obey their Savior’s commandments. Again, our love is demonstrated in our obedience to the commandments of Christ. Amen.
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10
In this article we will consider three important aspects of New Testament Commandments: First, the Great Lawgiver is Jesus Christ; Second, the commandments are Christ’s teachings; Third, these commandments are the test of Biblical salvation. There are no non-essentials with God.
The Great Lawgiver is Christ
According to James 4:12, Jesus Christ is the Great Legislator of the church, “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” He is Judge as well as Savior and sets the laws for His people. The text says He is able to save and destroy. Jesus Christ is the head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:20-23), and every believer must one day appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account of himself (II Corinthians 5:10-11). All will be judged by Christ’s commandments whether saved or lost (John 5:22-27; 12:46-50; Acts 10:42-43).
In James 2:8, the Royal Law was binding on those to whom James wrote, “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.” According to verses 12-13, every Christian will be judged by the Law of Liberty because it is God’s unchanging standard of conduct, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” In James chapter two, the apostle is correcting the sin of showing favor to the wealthy and neglecting the poor. The last words from Heaven are the words of Christ in that God has spoken to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus Christ is not only the Mediator of the New Covenant, but has also written His laws in the heart of every believer (Hebrews 8:6-13; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Jeremiah 32:38-40).
The Commandments are Christ’s Teaching
In Matthew 28:19-20, the commandments of Christ are a vital part of The Great Commission given to the Church, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” In verse 19, all nations are to be taught; and in verse 20, the teaching is Christ’s commandments. The New Testament is filled with Christ’s teachings (Sermon on the Mount, Upper Room Discourse, Olivet Discourse, Parables, etc). Why is it that so many today can take the commandments or leave them? We cannot pick and choose what we want to obey or not obey, neither can we ignore the commandments of God.
The Bible says in Acts 2:42, the church continued in the teachings of Christ, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The apostles’ teachings are Christ’s teachings; we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). Please consider the following Scriptures that clearly show the apostles doctrine to be directly from the Lord: I Thessalonians 4:1-2; II Thessalonians 3:4-5; I Timothy 4:11; 6:3-5; I Corinthians 7:10, 14:37. In I Corinthians 11:1-2 the apostle Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” In the New Testament there are commandments pertaining to many subjects (salvation, family life, church life, music, modesty, conduct, speech, giving, doctrine, worship, civil government, money, prayer, fasting, separation, labor, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper to name a few). The very Gospel itself commands obedience (Romans 16:25-26; Acts 6:7). We are commanded in Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake the church in which many have done today, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” In Romans 12:1-2, believers are commanded to present their bodies as a living sacrifice and not be conformed to this world. We must strive lawfully to get a reward (II Timothy 2:5). We are not without a law (I Corinthians 9:24), but under the law of the Spirit (Romans 8:2). We cannot write our own rule book, nor edit God. In the New Testament, there are commandments pertaining to every aspect of the Christian life whether it be doctrine or practice. We live in a lawless society, but the believer is subject to the commandments of Jesus Christ.
The Test of Biblical Salvation
The evidence of true conversion is seen in our response to Christ’s commandments: “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:3-4). The text clearly shows the believer’s desire to keep the commandments, that is, to treasure or cherish them, to make them our life, holding them dear, placing great value upon them. There are many that say they know and love God, but their actions prove them to be a liar, for the true Christian desires to walk in the Lord’s commandments (vv 5-6). There are many times in the New Testament we see believers keeping Christ’s commandments (I John 3:22-24; 5:2-3; II John 4-9; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14).
In I John 5:2-3, the commandments of God are not grievous, that is, they are not burdensome, oppressive, difficult, heavy, impractical or unreasonable. These New Testament commandments are for our assurance, blessings, and protection. The Christian is not without law, but this law is written in his heart and can be kept by the power of God placed in us by the Holy Spirit.
If you love God, then your heart’s desire will be to keep His commandments. If this desire does not exist, please examine yourself, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (II Corinthians 13:5). The mark of true Christianity is obedience. The commandments of God are summed up in Matthew 22:37-40, “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. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” God saves us from our sins, not in our sins. The Gospel must be obeyed (II Thessalonians 1:7-8; 2:10-12), for this is the will of God. Please consider the following Scriptures that show the true nature of the child of God, for they do His will: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:14
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523