New Testament Commands

  
  

Why obey the New Testament Commands?

Obey which commands?

Aren't we under grace and not law?

All I Have Commanded - an exhaustive list of what Jesus expects of His followers (free online book)

 

Why obey the New Testament Commands?

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me.
 He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him
 and show Myself to Him."  
(Jesus Christ in John 14:21 NIV)

Although Paul clearly taught that salvation is by faith and not by works (Eph. 2:8,9), we never know for sure if our faith is a saving faith, that is, if we have placed our faith in the real Jesus.  Sadly, many people have placed their faith in an imaginary or politically correct Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible.  Jesus Himself said that many people will be shocked on Judgment Day to realize that Jesus never knew them (Mt. 7:21-23; Lk. 13:23-28).  The apostle John wrote that some people who think they know Jesus actually never knew Him (1 Jn. 2:4).  In both cases, the key element for testing ourselves is obedience.

This means that obedience to the NT commands is the ultimate way of gaining assurance of salvation (not for gaining salvation, as some have mistakenly taught).  The distinction may seem slight, but it is large, because faith is commitment without knowing:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen.  (Heb. 11:1)

(Note that the NIV version wrongly translates it, "Faith is being sure of what is hoped for and certain of what we do not see."  This is misleading, because we cannot be certain of the future and of the unseen.)

So, the best we can have is assurance of salvation.  (For further study, see Rom. 8:24,25; 11:22, 1 Cor. 15:1,2; Col. 1:23; Heb. 3:6,14).  This means that we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Ph. 2:12), test ourselves regularly to see if we are really in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5) and make our calling and election sure (2 Pt. 1:10).  It's only on the day of Judgment that we'll be able to know if our names are written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:11-15).

Obey which commands?
Many people will agree on a certain number of Biblical commands that their conscience defines as required by God - for example, "Do not murder" and "Do not steal."  However, there are also Biblical commands that the conscience does not affirm, usually due to the prevailing sinful environment - for example, "Do not covet", "Do not fornicate" and "Do not divorce."  There are also commands that the conscience will outright reject - for example, "Preach the Gospel" or "Withdraw from the man or woman who claims to be a Christian but divorces, takes another Christian to court, gets drunk or reviles people and won't repent." (See 1 Cor. 5:1-6:11)

Jesus never gave commands that cannot be kept.  Just because many "Christians" ignore some commands today, does not mean you can!  To see an exhaustive list of the commands Christians need to follow, you can read the book, All I Have Commanded.

Aren't we under grace and not law?
Yes, a person who places his or her faith in Jesus Christ is under grace and not under the Mosaic Law.  (See Gal. 3:24,25).  The Mosaic Law was given to Israel when she became a nation at Mt. Sinai.  At that time, anyone who wanted to be a part of the program of God had to follow the Mosaic Law or else they were excluded from the community (Num. 15:30,31).

However, in New Testament times believers in Jesus Christ are obligated to obey the law of Christ (see 1 Cor. 9:21).  His law actually has higher standards than the Mosaic Law, because it deals with attitudes and motives.  As the Apostle Paul wrote:

"Do we then make void the law through faith?  Certainly not!
 On the contrary, we establish the law." 
(Rom. 3:31 NKJV)

He's talking about the law of Christ.

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This information is public domain and is intended for people who want to obey Jesus' commands.
Jesus said, "Freely you have received, so freely give." (Matthew 10:8b)

This web page was last updated on 25 August 2008 .

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