The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Promises and Commands"
Part 3 - Inseparable Companions
The commands of Scripture are no less our dear friends than are the promises.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I Corinthians 5:3-4).
I once spoke with a young man who honestly confessed, "I love the promises of Scripture. But I find the commands to be fearful!" Certainly, this would be the case if God called us to "keep His commandments" by our own devices, determination, and dedication. In the passage above, the Apostle John clearly addresses what he knew would be the response to his mandate regarding the commands he addressed in his epistle. Consider the apex of the life to which John calls us:
"Walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6).
The "He" to whom John refers in this passage is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. Even a cursory awareness of the life the Lord Jesus lived must cast us to our faces in utter despair as we consider John's calling to live as did Christ. The Apostle knew that such a command seemed "grievous" (weighty and burdensome) indeed. Thus, He raises the issue of the believer being "born of God" and overcoming thereby. Why does the new birth factor into our calling to "walk, even as He walked?" The Apostle Paul answers.
"I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).
Salvation in the Lord Jesus comes not only with forgiveness, relationship with God, the promise of Heaven, and the Lord's promised provision. It also comes with the power to obey His commands. In fact, the new birth graces us with the living and active presence of Christ Himself, the One who affirmed, "I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29). The commands of the New Testament (and applicable commands of the Old) were written not to us as if we are by ourselves, but rather to ourselves as inhabited and enabled by the risen Lord Jesus. In this holy light, the mandates become the dearest of friends as we trust our Lord to walk in us, and as we experience His presence whereby we "walk… in Him" (I John 2:6).
Of course, we do not always avail ourselves of such grace. Nor do our natural thoughts lead us to view God's commands as accompanied by His promised power to fulfill them. Like the young man mentioned, the commandments of Scripture are fearful things if viewed after the flesh. Viewed through the lens of God's grace and truth in Christ, however, the high summit of "Walk, even as He walked" becomes the most thrilling contemplation imaginable when we realize our feet will be led and empowered by the One whose nail-pierced Feet exited the tomb long ago in the triumph of the ages. "Ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:12).
"To be spiritually minded is life and peace" declared the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:6). That is, to direct our minds to "the Author and Finisher of our faith" as our hope for a life of obedience - this is how we live, and this is how God keeps our hearts at peace as He leads and empowers our feet (Hebrews 12:2). In this holy light, we see His commands in the most friendly of terms, realizing they are no less the gift of grace than are the promises. In fact, the two must be seen as inseparable companions as God's promises assure us of the power to obey, and His commands reveal to us the monumental wonder of "so great salvation" in the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 2:3). John and Paul close our consideration in decisive affirmation of God's enabling…
"For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you."
(II Corinthians 13:4)
"And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us."
(I John 3:23-24)
Weekly Memory Verse
My times are in Thy hand.