The same sentiment made famous by the Beatles in 1967, is again becoming very popular among some Christians and Churches today.  And why not?   One of the first words that should come to mind when thinking of the Christian faith is LOVE.  And the idea that all we really need to do is concentrate on love and set aside any rules to live by is devilishly appealing.  But does it stand up to the true teachings of Jesus Christ as recorded for us in the Bible?

Well before I quote any scripture, let me ask you a question.  Would the concept of all love and no rules work in a marriage?   Take the time to think through this before you answer.  No rules?  No rules whatsoever in a marriage?  One can hardly fathom such a thing.

It has been said that all Christians need to do is love God and love people.  The ironic thing about this partial quote from the Bible is that the actual verses are stated by Jesus to be commandments.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.””                               (Matthew 22:37–40, NKJV)

A commandment by anyone’s definition is a rule; and a commandment given directly by Jesus is a divine rule that all Christians better pay close attention to.

If you count the direct instructions that Jesus gave in the Gospels on how a child of God should live, there are a minimum of 50.  There are a number of published books and articles trying to establish the definitive number of commands given by Christ.  One such book was written by Peter Wittstock titled, “Hear Him! The 125 Commands of Jesus.”  And this doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface for all the commandments, rules, and instructions for godly living given by the Holy Spirit through the New Testament writers.

And Jesus Himself left us zero wiggle room in regards to keeping His commandments.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”     (John 14:15, NKJV)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” … Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”            (John 14:21–23, NKJV)

But where is GRACE you ask?  The simplest answer is that GRACE is everywhere; every verse, every paragraph, and yes, every commandment.    We start the Christian walk by being saved by grace  (Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; Romans 3:24).  Then each day we walk by the grace and truth that Jesus teaches us in His Word  (John 1:17), and are thankful that He credits our “spiritual accounts” with mercy and grace new every day  (Lamentations 3:22–23).

For brevity in this article, let me list just a few of the ways we walk the Christian walk by grace through faith (nowhere near an exhaustive list):

  • We walk in the steps of faith.                                   Romans 4:12
  • We walk in newness of life.                                      Romans 6:4
  • We walk according to the Spirit.                             Romans 8:4
  • We walk properly before our Lord.                        Romans 13:13
  • We walk in manifestations of truth.                       2 Corinthians 4:2
  • We walk by faith and not by sight.                         2 Corinthians 5:7
  • We walk in the {Holy} Spirit.                                  Galatians 5:16
  • We walk with God’s peace and mercy.                  Galatians 6:16
  • We walk in good works.                                           Ephesians 2:10
  • We walk worthy of our calling.                              Ephesians 4:1
  • We walk in love.                                                        Ephesians 5:2
  • We walk as children of light.                                  Ephesians 5:8
  • We walk circumspectly.                                          Ephesians 5:15

We cannot take even one more Christian step apart from Christ’s imputed grace. Nor will we be able to keep His commandments, instructions, and rules for godly living apart from His abundant grace.

Let me leave you with this closing thought.  The Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is credited with saying — “With love, there are no rules. The heart decides and what it decides is all that really matters.”   But the Word of God gives us a stern warning about following the untethered guidance of our own heart.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”         (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV)

“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool …”             (Proverbs 28:26, NKJV)

Without question, we need the grace of God’s divine rules to live and walk in the love of Jesus Christ.  

 

PenQ

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