I kind of chuckled to myself as I read this during my Bible study today.
You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
How many of us had a kid like that in our neighborhood? The kind of kid that would only be your friend if you did everything they said? I remember one kid in particular, and I didn’t stay his friend very long. In fact, nobody in the neighborhood wanted to be friends with him, because of his “my way or the highway” attitude.
And yet that’s how Jesus set it out in the Word. If you want to be His Friend, you do everything He says… there is no way around it.
The Separation of Love and Obedience
A mindset has developed that allows our misunderstanding of “mercy” and “grace” to interfere with obedience to God. Often when He tells us to do something, we drag our feet or outright disobey Him, especially when it is uncomfortable to our flesh! Where do you think that comes from?
It comes from the rebellion within our own hearts! Areas where we postpone, or refuse obedience to His Word are areas where we are not submitted to God!
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
We as Christians cannot claim to “walk in love” unless we make obedience to the Father THE top priority in our lives. The verse above links obedience and love… there is no separating the two.
Rebellion and Witchcraft
For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from [being] king.
Read the verse above and think about prophetic (and other) circles who emphasize “experiential salvation,” downplay the Word of God and yet want to try to cast out demons and come against “spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Do you think the satan is threatened by this?
Is “Legalism” in the Word?
Over the past few decades, the enemy has introduced the terms “legalism” and “religious spirit” into the Christian vocabulary. No matter how hard you look, you will not find the terms “legalism,” “legalistic” or “religious spirit” in the Word of God. However, you WILL (usually) hear these terms used by people who exude confidence in their spiritual gifts, but have little or no regard for the Word of God.
Friends, FLEE FROM THESE PEOPLE! Do not give them the time of day!
If you look into the New Testament book of I John (known as “the Apostle of LOVE”), you will notice PLENTY of verses that are considered “legalistic” in this day and age.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
That is just in one New Testament epistle! If you read the Gospels, you will notice that, when it came to God’s commandments given in the Old Testament, Jesus was COMPLETELY LEGALISTIC! He would not transgress one law! He was perfectly sinless!
Then What About the Pharisees?
Jesus frequently confronted the Pharisees for their pride, hypocrisy and greed, but He never confronted them on their obedience to the Law (the Torah: Genesis through Deuteronomy). When Jesus confronted them over the “law,” He was referring to extra laws that were added to the Laws (Torah) given by God to Moses; laws like the Eighteen Measures and other man-made regulations. This is another study for another time, but if you want to look further into it on your own, check out this GREAT study on the Book of Galatians from Bereansonline.org.
If you don’t have time to study it out, just take Jesus’ Word for it.
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Now THAT seems a little legalistic! But, you know what? I’m not going anywhere… He has the Words of Life!