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2 = All

Matthew 22:37-40, Good Works follow Salvation
Someone recently "corrected" me because I said genuine love for Christ results in obedience to His commands.

She said I didn't understand grace, and she insisted Jesus gave only two commands for New Covenant believers: Loving the Lord with all our hearts and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

Actually, Jesus gave many commands, but these two are unique: they put all of the other commandments into context. 

"The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (v.40)

If we love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves, we won't violate a single other command.

And Christ made it clear that if we have no desire to obey Him, we don't know or love Him (John 14:15,21,23; John 15:10; 1 John 2:3; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6).

Obedience and good works don't earn salvation, but they follow salvation.

And Christ's last command on earth was this:
"Go and make disciples ... teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Matthew 28:18-20  
Note #1: There is often confusion about which of the Old Testament commands apply to us today. No need to worry. Just concentrate on all the New Testament commands and you'll be fine. If you want to read more on this subject check out The Law Collection of 4 short articles.

Note #2: Some people believe the "red letter" words of Christ, and not the rest of the Bible. To dispel that misunderstanding, check out these links: Only the Words of Christ.


Others First

Philippians 2:1-4, consider others better than yourselves
Selfishness kills relationships.

That's why there are so many divorces, broken friendships, estranged parents and children.

If we're interested in healthy relationships, we must be sensitive to the needs, desires and interests of others, not simply our own. 

This seems so obvious, but it's not. Our natural tendency is selfishness and our culture encourages it.

That's why Philippians 2:3-4 reminds us: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of the others." 

This verse doesn't say our personal interests don't matter in relationships; it says they should be secondary to the interests of the other person. 

Why not take time today to ask God if you've been living selfishly in any of your relationships. Then ask His help in being sensitive to those things which matter to others, not simply those things which matter to you.


Sin and Typewriters

1 John 1:9-10, Confessing sin, calling God a liar, excusing sin
I have an old Hungarian typewriter.

But I gave my grandchildren instructions not to play with it because I know how excited and careless they can get. They're kids after all.

The other day while standing near the typewriter, my 4-year-old grandson looked me in the eye and said, "Grammy, sometimes my hand just moves over there and plays with that typewriter."

I tried not to laugh and told him he would have to control that hand. 

His confession is a humorous illustration of the excuses we fallen humans use. My little munchkin didn't really admit fault. It was his hand that was the problem, not his heart.

We're masters at excusing, sidestepping, and contorting the truth. I see it in areas of "group think" when people justify things that contradict the facts and on a personal level when we excuse our sins.

1 John 1:9-10 tells us that whenever we excuse or redefine sin, we're calling God a liar -- a sober warning to call sin, "sin."

If you want to see a post on the flea market where I bought this old typewriter, it's HERE. Early on, I did decor posts on Bible Love Notes, but not anymore.


God Loves a Party!

Sabbath, Not legalism
Throughout the Old Testament the Fourth Command (Exodus 20:8) was emphasized as a day of rest from work. 

Eventually, the Pharisees created a legalistic, burdensome Sabbath practice, and Christ rebuked them saying the Sabbath was made for man’s rest and benefit (Mark 2:27).

The Sabbath Commandment is the only command not restated in the New Testament. Some believe it’s omitted because every day is a Sabbath to the Christian who no longer “works” for salvation but rests in the finished work of Christ (Hebrews 4).

Christians have different views regarding this command,* but we can all agree on this:
  • Although we can rest in Christ's love daily, we also need a day each week to rest for physical and spiritual reasons.
  • We all enjoy a celebration and that's what the Lord’s Day should be--a celebration of God's love, not a legalistic burden.
So let's do our best to make the Lord’s Day a joyful “party” instead of a religious duty.
© copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2011
Please leave a comment with your ideas for ways to do this.
* Scripture warns us not to judge fellow believers for differing views about Sabbath observance (Colossians 2:16) 

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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.