What a friend we have in Jesus!
To know Him is to understand what an awesome friend He is and how His mercies endure forever.
I often get opportunity to discuss my faith with others and am always thankful to meet other Christians that are excited to call Jesus their friend. But in deeper conversation, there are questions. Some things need better understanding and therefore some live with a bit of unease. How do I know that Jesus IS my friend? How do I know that I know Him the way I should.
There is evidence that Jesus is present throughout the old testament, from creation onward. John 1, talks about the Word that was from the beginning and had become flesh. This refers back to creation in Genesis 1. In a previous study entitled Jesus, we explore Him throughout the Bible more in depth.
Today, some Christians believe they can claim Jesus as their savior and have no other responsibility except attend church weekly. Where does this idea come from? Is there no Law? Are we free from the obligation to keep the Law of God contained in the Commandments? I have heard it said that the Law is done away with and that we are no longer under the law but under grace. Many Christians believe this. This study aims to excite you to read and explore the Bible for yourself to discover the important truths about the Law of God. And this exploration is not without cause. The Bible it self contains chilling warnings for mankind.
Matthew 24:3-4, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”
How can we make sure we are not deceived. This is the first thing Jesus said in response to the disciples questions. The end result of the deception that Jesus spoke and the reason for the warning is found in Revelation 13:3-4, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
Jesus points out that before He returns, people will not give worship to Him, but to the beast power. And when you look at Matthew 7:22-23, it seems that they thought they were giving worship to God but were deceived. We must therefore study God’s word to make sure that we are not deceived.
Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:22-23 is alarming because people who believe they are Christians will be rejected in that day. They do good works and prophesy. These are not atheists. Jesus will say depart, ye workers of iniquity. What is iniquity?
Iniquity is sin. But if there is no law, how can Jesus at the Judgement turn people who prophecy and do good works away because of iniquity or sin?
Consider this: Lucifer was cast out of heaven because he sinned. Ezekiel 28:13-15, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
To cast Satan out of heaven for transgressing Gods Law, just to send Jesus to die to abolish Gods Law makes no sense. Without Gods Law there are no wicked people and thus there can be no judgement. Judgement requires a Law to be judged against.
But didn’t Jesus come to fulfill the law? The definition of “fulfill” is to complete or achieve. Jesus lived a perfect life and achieved a perfect life. This is the only way he could atone for our sins. But does this mean He nullified the law through His life, death and resurrection? What does Jesus say about this.
Matthew 5:27-28, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
This doesn’t sound like Jesus is doing away with the Law of God at all. This sounds like He is explaining the fullness of the Law to a people that lost its meaning. Jesus did not lessen the potency of the Law of God, he removed every loophole that people were comfortable exploiting to their detriment.
Let’s look at another. Matthew 5:21-24, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
Jesus here doesn’t even want you to give your gifts at the alter until you reconcile with your brother. How could this all be included in a command about murder? Again, Jesus does not diminish the law of God, He breathes life into it making it full. Take a look at Exodus 20. Reading the ten commandments of God, how can you understand them better seeing the template that Jesus established in Matthew 5?
But what about grace? Are we not under grace? “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” Romans 6:15.
Revelation 22:11, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.”
There seems to be two sides that exist. The unjust and the filthy and the righteous and the holy.
James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Romans 3:20, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The Law of God makes us conscious of our sins and our goal is to not sin. This is why the Law cannot be done away with because without the Law, how can we know what we do that is unpleasing to God?
Revelation 14 speaks about the mark of the beast and warns us to avoid getting this mark. In fact, when you read Revelation 14, you understand that there are only two types of folks at the end when Jesus returns. Those that have the mark of the beast and those that don’t. Those that don’t have the mark of the beast receive the seal of God. Or rather, there are those that receive the seal of God and all others receive the mark of the beast. Then Jesus reveals the identifier that determines Gods people. These are those that have not been deceived.
Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Come. Hear. Do.
2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
There is a beautiful relationship that takes shape when we live for God and not ourselves. God loves us and wants the very best for us in every way. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Obedience to God is the only way to please Him. It is hard for our selfish nature to feel comfortable with the word “obey”. We are rebellious by nature. But Jesus is clear and unambiguous. John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” or John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
If you love Jesus, if you choose to serve the God of the Bible, what keeps you from being obedient to His will? We do not keep the commandments because we are saved by the Law of God. We keep the commandments because we are saved and are called according to His purpose. And He calls us to be holy.
1 Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy, because I am holy.”
Holiness is possible through the grace of God. John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
1 John 5:1-2, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.”
What is more, God through the Spirit makes it possible to live according to His purpose. All we must do is surrender to His will. We must decrease and He must increase in our lives. Our plans must conform to His will. In whatever we do, it must be to Gods glory and not our own.
Philippians 2:12-15, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
God does the work if you let Him.
Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.”
Gods people are peculiar people that live according to Gods will. Gods people are blessed of God, but will suffer persecution. Not deceived, relying on Gods word contained in the Bible, we are to be a light to the world. Knowing that the majority of the religious world will get it wrong and wonder after the beast, we we not to compromise; not to mix Gods truth with mans error. Even though false worship is all around us and is popular, this is the patience of the saints, those that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.
1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
70-ish years will be spent here in this sinful world. But where do you want to spend eternity? When God makes it so easy to do His will and in the end, eternity without sin where you can live with Jesus and see Him face to face. Or you can have it all end here and cease to exist for eternity. Study and seek God daily. Seek God through prayer and His word for yourself. The time is now to choose.