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Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NIV) on the subject of obedience.

Jesus Saves Us (Acts 5:32; Hebrews 5:9; John 8:51)

“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Literally, “to those obeying” (present tense) “him.”

“And, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Literally, “to all those obeying” (present tense) “him.”

“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

I hear many people, including many ministers of the gospel, say that we don’t have to repent of our sins and we don’t have to obey Jesus and his commands in order to be saved, but is that true? Or else they just leave out repentance and obedience from their gospel messages, and they dilute the gospel message to make it more acceptable and appealing for the world, and for the worldly church. They reduce the gospel message to a mere acknowledgment of the existence of Jesus Christ, or of his blood sacrifice for our sins, and they teach the listener that all he has to do is accept Jesus’ forgiveness of sins, i.e. God’s grace, and he now has heaven guaranteed him, and that it can never be taken away from him. But, is that true?

A careful study of scripture will reveal that these people who are teaching (promoting) this are liars and deceivers who are gaining disciples for themselves (or for Satan), but not for Jesus Christ (See: Matt. 23:15). It will also quickly dispel their lies, and will reveal the truth that God does, indeed, require both repentance and obedience as part of saving faith, and for eternal life with God. This study will also show us that our salvation is progressive, i.e. we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for us, his bride. And, it will teach us that faith is not a one-time deal where we live how we want, and that one day we go to heaven, but it will show us that genuine faith must be enduring, continuous, and steadfast if we want to have the hope of heaven and eternal life with God.

[See: Jn. 8:31-32; Ro. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; II Tim. 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I John 2:24-25.]

We Know Him (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:24)

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

“Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

If we say we know God, i.e. that we have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, and that we are assured of eternal life with God in heaven, then we must understand here that obedience is evidence that this is true. If we claim to know God or to be in fellowship with him, but we don’t keep his commands (his instructions to us), we are liars. Also, if we claim to be in fellowship with our Lord, but we are still walking (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, if we want to be assured of our salvation, and the hope of eternal life with God, we must walk in obedience to our Lord. We must walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh, for if we walk (in lifestyle) according to our fleshly desires, we will die in our sins, not have heaven guaranteed us when we leave this earth. Yet, some people will falsely claim that this is works-based salvation and not God’s grace, but they are lying to you. For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, commands us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

We Love Him (John 14:23-24; 1 John 5:2-4)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

To love God is to obey God. If we do not walk (in lifestyle) in obedience to our Lord, then we do not really love him. This is not to say we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that true faith in Jesus Christ is both repentant and obedient. And, although the word “repent” literally means to have a change of mind, it cannot be reduced to merely accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins on a cross and his forgiveness for our sins. For, in context of scripture, the word “repent” is nearly always used in the sense of turning away from sin (idolatry, wickedness, immorality), forsaking our former way of living for sin and self, and turning to follow our Lord Jesus with our lives. And, to follow means to obey. It means we are not hearers only of the Word, but that we are doers of the Word of God.

Yet, none of this is done to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace to us, and we can only obey our Lord in the power and strength of God’s Holy Spirit now living within those of us who have truly given our lives over to him. Yet, God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or without remorse. His grace to us is freedom from slavery to sin. He delivered us out of bondage to sin so that we can walk with him in righteousness, not so we can continue living like we did before, only slightly cleaned up for the Christian world. It is not grace, in other words, if we are still enslaved (addicted) to sin. So, although it is free, freedom is not forgiven slavery while we continue in enslavement. God’s grace sets us free from the control Satan had over our lives so that we can now come under the control of Christ’s righteousness (See: Ro. 6:1-23).

My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.