Today's Foundations Devotional: The New Testament pattern of obedience

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Memory verse

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

(Matthew 22:37-39)

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Yesterday, we concluded with our conclusion that the law of love marks the end of all other laws and commandments. However, we must guard against leaving any impression that the love of God is something vague, indefinite, unrealistic or sentimental. On the contrary, the love of God is always definite and practical. According to the New Testament, love for God and love for man alike are expressed in ways that correspond to God’s own love – ways that are definite and practical.

Throughout the whole Bible the supreme test of man’s love for God can be expressed in one word: obedience.

In the Old Testament, God stated this truth to His people in Jeremiah 7:23:

Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people.

True love for God is always expressed by obedience to Him.

In the New Testament, likewise, Jesus, in His parting discourse to His disciples, emphasised above all other requirements this point of obedience. In John 14 He stresses this point three times in succession within the space of a few verses:

If you love Me, keep My commandments (v. 15).

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me (v. 21)

Then He puts the two alternatives of obedience and disobedience very clearly side by side, for He says:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word (v. 23). And then, on the contrary: He who does not love Me does not keep My words (v. 24)

In the light of these words, it is plain that for any Christian to profess love for Christ, without obeying the will of Christ revealed in His words and His commandments, is mere self-deception.

The supreme commandment of Christ in the New Testament is love. Without love, it is impossible to speak of obedience. But if we go on to examine the nature and the outworking of Christian love, we discover that the New Testament offers us the pattern of a life that is controlled in every aspect by this love.

It covers the believer’s own individual and personal life, his relationship both to God and to his fellow man. It directs and controls Christian marriage and the life of the Christian family, including both parents and children. It provides for the life and conduct of the Christian church. It regulates the attitude and the relationship of the believer to secular society and government.

For us to follow this pattern in our lives, first we must prayerfully study and apply every part of the New Testament’s teaching. Second, we must continually acknowledge our moment-by-moment dependence on the supernatural grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

In this way we shall prove in our own experience the truth of 1 John 2:5.

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

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Suggested prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, let me constantly "be in You" ... Please help me Lord, to speak to the world around me - in words and in deeds – out of my love for You. Thank You Lord for preserving me in Your love. Amen.

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