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The Commandments of Jesus

Jesus said,“If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love” (John 15:10). We show our love for God and Jesus by keeping Jesus’ words as He said. –

“He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me; and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).

Every true believer in Messiah Jesus wants to obey Him. His instructions to us are laced all though the gospels. But what are His basic commandments that serve as the foundation upon which all of His words to us are based?

The first commandment that Jesus spoke when He began His ministry is, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). True Biblical repentance is a recognition of our sinfulness and a willingness to turn from our sins. We must acknowledge that we are sinners before we can recognize our need for our Savior to redeem us from them. This repentance coupled with faith, appropriates the saving grace that Jesus sacrificed Himself to give us.

Repentance is the expression of humility that God rewards, for “He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Jesus came not only to save us so we could inherit eternal life, He also came to turn us from our sins, to change us into the people He wants us to be. This brings us to the next most important commandment. – “This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). He goes on to explain – “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The love Jesus wants us to exhibit is a self-sacrificing love that puts others first. Jesus is a selfless giver who gave Himself to save us. There is no greater illustration of self-sacrificing love than Jesus’ tortured silhouette upon His cross.

No one can attain to that level of selflessness unless it is formed within a believer by Jesus’ Holy Spirit. We just have to desire it and if we love the Lord, we will. “For without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5). We need to ask Him for this love and all its aspects as shown to us by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:4-7. - Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Jesus has commanded us to love one another. He also commands us to apply the same love to our enemies. – But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44).

As anyone knows, this is not easy, but it is not impossible with the Lord’s help. He wants to override our natural impulse to retaliate and replace it with His Spirit led response instead. The ability to achieve this kind of Holy Spirit control begins with our desire for it. As Jesus told us, if we seek we will find, and there will be an opening for us (from Matthew 7:7). Our requests will be granted because we are asking for things that are in accordance with His will.

And finally the last great foundational commandment is “Forgive.”- And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (Mark 11:25,26).

The ability to forgive is another aspect of the love that is created in us through the Holy Spirit. If we can’t love, we can’t forgive. If we can love those who have hurt us, we will be able to forgive. This puts all of us back at the foot of Jesus’ cross where we witness His love and forgiveness being poured out upon those who hate Him. When we realize that we are not exempt from that miserable group of sinners gathered around His cross, and if we can retain this perspective in times when we have experienced our own wounds, then our view from the foot of His cross helps to enable our hearts to soften and forgive.

In conclusion, these four great commandments; repent, love one another, love our enemies and forgive – form the foundation for a successful walk with our Savior. He is always there to help us up when we fail and give us a new beginning – because He loves us.

All of us start off seeking our own will and desires in this life. It takes a consistent prodding from the Holy Spirit, and oftentimes our circumstances to change our direction until we are facing fully upward. As we allow His love to refresh our characters, we will find the challenges we face in this life easier to hurdle and all His other commandments and instructions to us will be a joy for us to fulfill.

There are many Christians who have been in church for years and still do not have a handle on these basic commandments. It's time to reexamine our walk with the Lord and put into practice His first commandment of repentance.

Change begins with repentance, prayer and a heartfelt desire for Him to transform us into the people He wants us to be.


Copyright 2023 by H.D. Shively

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