S176P6 – His pleasure in His people: commandment keepers

1 Jn. 3:18-23

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 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.

John touches on what seems to be a rather elementary and fundamental truth about this Christian faith.  We might not look at his guidance here as anything that revolutionary.  This is basic stuff for us, or at least it seems that way.  Yet, this obedience to God’s commandments carries with it a stumbling block.  We must remember that the religious leaders of Jesus’s day were, as far as they were concerned, dedicated to keeping the commandments of God.  They knew what was in the scriptures available to them, and they formulated their rules around those scriptures, even if they fell into legalism and misapplication of God’s word.  The point is that keeping commandments was not a foreign concept to them, but obeying the Son as they obeyed the Father was.

Obedience to what God commands means that we obey all the persons of God.  To believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God means to believe in him as a person of God, and we obey his commandments just as we obey those of his Father.  This is why rejection of the Son is rejection of the Father because they are one.  Additionally, the Son came as a representative of the Father and a mouthpiece of his.  Jesus did and spoke only what his Father in heaven commanded.  That is why we must follow the commands of the Son just as we follow the commands of the Father.  They come from the same heart and the same God.  We cannot please the Father by only obeying his commands without also obeying the commands of his Son.

Jesus said that those who love him will obey his commands.  In that statement, He also was saying that those who love the Father will obey the Son’s commands.  We can take that a step further and apply it to the prompting and direction we receive from his Holy Spirit.  The same way we do as would please the Father and the Son, we also must do as would please the Spirit by yielding to his will.  This takes discernment and faith, but it is how we must behave if we are to live effectively for the kingdom.  As the Spirit commands, we also must move.  Father, keep us obedient and discerning, living according to your commands and your divine spiritual guidance in faith.