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“By this we know that we have come to know him (Christ), If we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him’ But does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”1 John 2:1-3
John further emphasizes this point in 1 John 3:24, “Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit who He has given us.”
Everyone has a role model he or she wants to imitate. You may look up to LeBron James or Michael Jordan and desire the level of basketball prestige and skills that they have. Perhaps you admire a certain family member and hope to live your life the way that loved one lived his or her life.
We all have someone we admire and want to be like. In the same way, John is saying that if we truly love Christ we will want to be like him and follow his commands. 1 John 2:6 says, ”Whoever says he abides in him (Christ) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” The one who truly abides in Christ will desire to be like Christ and follow His commands.
In Romans 7, Paul is writing about his relationship with God’s Law and specifically, the Ten Commandments. He remarks that it was through reading the Ten Commandments that he realized he had broken God’s law and was a sinner (Paul points to covetousness as his sin).
“Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.'” (Romans 7:7)
Yet all of Paul’s life, he had sought to be righteous enough to meet God’s standard through obeying the Law. If the Law only condemned him, what then is Paul’s hope for salvation? “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Vs. 24)
Paul gives us the answer that he discovered: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Vs. 24). Paul’s hope was repentance and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ! The law exposed Paul to his sin and then his need for the Savior. Paul had to turn from looking to himself and instead look outwardly to someone who was able to meet (and had met) God’s standard (Galatians 4:4-5).
For the unbeliever, God’s Law and Ten Commandments are condemning and a heavy burden. They expose you to your inability to perfectly obey God’s law and your sin. It’s difficult to delight in a law that pronounces you guilty before a holy and righteous God. But God uses the Law to point you to your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, that you might be saved (Galatians 3:24)!
The late Pastor Warren Wiersbe helps us better understand God’s use of the Ten Commandments and His law: “The law is a tutor, not a savior, a mirror, not a cleanser”
However, for the follower of Christ, God has placed his Spirit within that person — making the follower delight in His commands and law (Ezekiel 36:27).
This was true for Paul as well, who writes at the very end of Romans 7: “I delight in the law of God”. The Holy Spirit worked in Paul’s life to first show him that he needed Christ because of his sin and secondly, to change his desires to such an extent that he actually delighted to obey God and His commandments!
It is God’s grace, working through God’s Spirit, that makes the true Christ-follower delight in God’s law.
So, how do you know if you’re a true Christ-follower? John answers, “By this we know that we have come to know him (Christ), If we keep his commandments.”
Perfectly? No. Joyfully? Yes! Because the Spirit of God is working within you to make you delight in doing the will of your Father.
The important question is: Do you desire to follow God’s Law? Do you delight to obey God’s commandments?
The mark of a true follower of Christ who’s been changed by the Spirit is that their desires begin to change. They say like Christ, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34)!