This may seem like a silly question; but, it is surprising to me how little many "Christians" bother to study Jesus' commands. Many folks follow the false doctrine of Paul and believe that the Old Testament Law doesn't apply to them - we will address that issue in a bit (also in Note1); but, even if you think the Old Testament Law is done away with, that would not, cannot, and does not, have anything to do with the need to obey the commands of Jesus in the New Testament.
How anyone thinks they could lead a "Christ-like" life without listening to Christ is beyond me. How can you live a "Christ-like" or "Christ-centered" life if you ignore what Christ told (and showed) you? Are you living for Jesus or Paul? Who died for you - Jesus or Paul? Both said to follow me. Jesus said this many times - here is one instance that is undeniable by anyone desiring to be saved by Him:
And he said to all, If any will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Paul never said to follow Jesus! Paul was so arrogant he said to follow him - Philippians 3:17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:7. The Gospel clearly says you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:13)! Who do you follow?
Jesus also specifically warned us not to follow anyone that claimed to see Him after His last departure to Heaven.
Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there. Believe not!
And they shall say to you, See here or see there. Go not after nor follow them.
Who do we know that claimed to have seen Jesus after His last departure to Heaven? Paul does so in 1 Corinthians 9:1! Who do you follow?
If you want to be a follower of Christ - which is what you must be to be saved - you better start following what Jesus the Christ said and not what anyone else says - not Paul, or the pope, or Joseph Smith! That is why you need to study the commands of Jesus. His words will never be replaced by someone else's words - they will never "pass away".
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Jesus said many things in various ways and there have been numerous lists made over time that cite His commands. These lists may vary according to many variables - i.e. a direct command, a declarative statement, the intended listener, etc. Many of His commands overlap the various categories and so may be omitted from one list but not another. An example is the command to follow Him. We have such a command to "an intended listener" in Matthew 4:19. Here Jesus was directly addressing Peter and Andrew. Hence that command was directly for them. Note, however, that we too are commanded to follow Him as shown earlier in Luke 9:23.
This disparity in lists made by men is another reason why you should study His commands for yourself. As in all matters, pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This subject cannot be ignored if you are to be saved. Jesus was very clear:
If you love me keep my commandments.
While the subject of this article is not the false doctrines of Paul or the fallacy of "once saved, always saved", I do feel this is an apt place to point something out to those that stubbornly adhere to such. Consider the following Bible passage:
I will put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Most everyone that studies or knows about the Bible is familiar with the concept that many things in the Old Testament where "types" for things to come. Please, read the preceding passage again with that thought in mind. Here, in the Old Testament is an example of those who God saved; but, when they did not obey Him, they were destroyed.
When you accept Jesus as your Lord you are washed in the blood of the Lamb - you are made clean, whole, and spotless; but, you MUST obey thereafter. You cannot crucify Him twice! The sins you commit after you are "saved" are NOT washed away By His sacrifice. Those sins are judged or forgiven, as Jesus said, by how you judge and forgive. You must, as Jesus says, endure to the end.
Knowing that you will be judged by these sins it is imperative that you know what is expected of you. Contrary to what Paul says, Jesus said:
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one tittle of the law to fail.
This is an important point - the Law is still in effect. Still need more proof? Jesus said:
Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For amen I say to you, until heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law - until all be fulfilled. Whoever shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but, whoever shall so do and teach, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that except your righteousness exceeds the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.
This passage presents several important points. First, note that your righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees considered their traditions more important than the Law. Paul was a Pharisee. Second, note that Jesus said the Law will in no way pass "until ALL be fulfilled". Dispensationalists that try to say we are in a different dispensation (followers of Paul) confuse this with Matthew 24:34 and Mark 13:30 where Jesus says: "Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, until all these things are done". Please note He does not specify ALL things - only these things. His death and resurrection did not fulfill ALL - he must still return! He was not referring to the Law passing with His death and resurrection and He certainly wasn't referring to the passing of His New Testament commands.
Now, consider that Jesus also said:
Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
I hope you see that to Jesus the Law isn't about being "legalistic". It is about love. I sincerely hope it should be obvious by now that it is imperative to study Jesus' commands; and, that the salvation of your very soul is at stake.
In Brotherly Love,
Note1: For the Paulists that want to claim "grace" freed them from being "under the Law", I ask a few simple questions. Jesus said the Law is about love. Do you not see the illogical position you hold of saying God's grace freed you from loving Him? Do you find it offensive to be told to love God if you want Him to save you as one of His children?
Paul was a Pharisee and they had a whole plethora of "laws" they had added to the Law of God. No one was ever accountable to God for those man-made traditions. Jesus railed against the Pharisees for burdening people with their laws and passing them off as God's Law (i.e. Matthew 23:13-29). You are not under the laws of the Pharisees - no one ever was; but, you are, according to Jesus, accountable for keeping the Law of God!
Study Aids: (available on the Free Downloads page of my website)
50 Commands of Jesus
Commands of Jesus - 300
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