(Article for publication week of 10-12-2011 AD)
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3).
Last week we showed how God’s love is efficacious, and how that when God sheds His love abroad in the heart of and elect sinner, that sinner will in turn love God (I John 4:19). If a person truly loves God, it is certain that person is loved of God.
Now, the question for you is, “Do you love God?” Most of you will answer in the affirmative, I imagine, but you had better read this week’s text before you say so. Just saying you love God, does not mean that you in reality love Him. Many people have nice thoughts about God , perhaps, and may feel good feelings about God, but that does not mean that you love God. Most people who say they love God, love a god of their own imagination , rather than the true God, that is the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is thrice holy, sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and absolutely just. The God of the Bible hates sin, and will punish sinners. Unless you love the only true God (John 17:3), you do not love God, and you are not saved.
Our text this week tells us how we may prove whether we love God or not. Those who love God will keep His commandments. Unless you are sincerely and consistently keeping God’s commandments, you do not love God, no matter what gushy feelings you think you have. God’s moral law revealed in His Ten Commandments are not grievous, and the world would be heaven on earth if all men obeyed them. I emphasize, if you love God, you will be sincerely and consistently keeping God’s commandments.
Our text is not suggesting that a sinner can save himself by his own obedience. Remember last week’s text, “we love Him because He first loved us” (I John 4:19). Obedience is not the procuring cause of salvation in any sense, but rather the indispensable evidence that one is saved.
This is where works mongers miss the boat entirely, by mistaking the evidence for the cause. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone , in Christ Alone (Romans 3:21-28). It is not by works in any sense (Ephesians 2:8-9). But the believer is the workmanship of Christ created unto good works which God has before ordained that they should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). So be sure you get it straight, obedience to God is not what saves you, but the evidence that you are saved.
Nor is our text suggesting that anyone can perfectly keep the commandments of God. Even if you do keep all the commandments outwardly (which I seriously doubt), our Lord says that if you break them in thought, or motive you are guilty (see Matthew 5:21-32 for example) of breaking God’s law. The believer keeps God’s law imperfectly, but sincerely and consistently. He is always repenting that he is coming short of what God requires, and he is continually clinging to Christ Who kept the law for His people and was punished by God in our room and stead to redeem us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).The believer delights in the law of God after the inward man (Romans 7:22). He says with the Psalmist , “O Lord how love I Thy law” (Psalm 119:97).He loves the law of God because it reveals the perfections of the God He loves. He loves the law because His Saviour satisfied all its just demands for him. His love for God is proven by his sincere and consistent, though imperfect obedience to the commandments of God.
We have plenty of “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Pink left, and if you will call me at 601-927-5070, I will get you one. I look forward to hearing from many of you this week.