The greatest commandment, both Old and New Testament, is “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37; Galatians 5:22).
Keeping that commandment is the only reasonable response we can make to “God demonstrate[ing] His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinner, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV).
It is all of grace.
In the previous blog we talked about a new grace revolution.
God so loves you and me He gives mercy.
His mercy overflows with grace.
His grace brings to us what we do not deserve and cannot earn.
Our only response is to confess our sin; repent of our sin (renounce it and turn from it); ask Jesus to forgive our sin; and invite Jesus to come live in our heart. Scripture says when we respond in that way God will forgive us; justifies us (declares us to be just-as-if-we-had-never-sinned) and remember our sin no more.
That truly is amazing grace!
How do we respond to such grace?
Jesus said the correct response is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”
What does that look like?
4 Ways Grace is Reflected Through the Commandments
1. Heavenly Father said the first thing is to keep His statures and judgments.
“…keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the LORD God of your fathers has promised you — ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’” (Deuteronomy 6:2-3 NKJV).
Many think that is Old Testament and the law and we don’t have to go there. Jesus addressed that concern in John 14:15 and John 15:9-10. “If you love Me, keep My commandments… As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 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” (NKJV).
The Apostle John also addressed this in his first epistle. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 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. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked… Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of 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” (1 John 2:1-6; 5:1-3 NKJV).
2. The second quality in the heart of someone who loves God with all their heart, soul and strength is the fear the Lord.
This is not angst or terror of a harsh judgmental God. Rather it is a reverence for God based upon knowing His nature and character and knowing that He sees and knows our every word and conduct. It is to hate evil and every wicked way (Deuteronomy 6:2; Psalms 19:7-11; Proverbs 1:7; 8:13; 9:10 1 John 1:5-10).
3. When we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and strength, we will put the Word of God firmly in your heart (Deuteronomy 6:6; Psalms 119:11; James 1:21-25).
4. When we love God with all our heart, soul and strength, we will be very intentional, purposeful, about diligently in teaching the His Word to our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 6:1-4).
Keeping the commandments of Jesus does not contradict grace.
Rather it declares the power of grace that enables a weak human being to live obedient and have the fruit of the Spirit blossoming in abundance.
Learn more about the power of grace in my new book Charis- The Power of Grace