FULFILLING THE COMMANDSEdit
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from the Father, I have made known to you." John 15:13-15
THE CALL TO COVENANT RELATIONSHIP
Believers in the new covenant have been elevated from servants to being friends of God. This is the relationship which Abraham enjoyed with the Father, being called the "friend of God" (James 2:23-24). Not just because of his faith in God, but because it was translated into his life through his actions. The basis of Abraham being called into this relationship with the Father was because of his obedience, as He said to Isaac, it was the reason why He was renewing the covenant with him which was made with his father, Abraham: "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
The covenant relationship came after faithful service and so it was with the disciples, they entered into the new covenant relationship after having been faithful disciples for some three years or more.
We are called to be more than believers, we are called to be faithful disciples in covenant relationship, a relationship based on friendship, on sharing both the wisdom, and the plans and purposes of the Master. Discipleship is a yoking together in a spiritual union with Him where we are harnessed together in such a way that we are in step with Him as He takes us on the journey to our final destination.
Relationship is the essence of discipleship. A disciple is one who follows the Master because of the claims the Master has on his heart, that is born out of love and respect. He laid down His life for us, and the gratitude for what He has done for us, demands our life, our all.
The focal point in discipleship is the one we follow, taking hold of the challenge and becoming like Him. Through our encounter with Him and the resulting relationship into which He has drawn us, our hearts have been motivated to follow Him, i.e. to become His disciple. It is a covenant relationship that requires our full commitment. To fulfill our commitment we must separate ourself from all other claims upon us. He must have first claim upon our life. Our devotion and loyalty must be to Him first, and from that orientation, to others.
That is the only way that we will be undivided in our loyalty to Him and His claims upon us to obey Him in all situations. For if we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we will obey His commands.
Having come to a place where we desire to respond to His call and obey His commandments, we then consider just what are those commandments. He said in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another". But that cannot be the only commandment He has given us to live by, and it isn't. He gave much instruction to those who followed Him during His ministry and we have much of that recorded.
His teaching was with authority and He brought out the depth of the understanding of the scriptures for the people and corrected the misconceptions of man's interpretations. However, He did not change anything.
As He said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came not to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heavens and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:17-19
Yeshua's first statement here is that He did not come to destroy either the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. How would He fulfill the Law? -- By being the embodiment of the Law in human flesh.
How would He fulfill the Prophets? -- By accomplishing all that was prophesied of Him in His life and death.
Then He said that not the smallest indicator of meaning in the Hebrew alphabet, would be passed over without being fulfilled. Therefore, because of this, whoever advocated breaking the least of the commands in the law, would be demoted in the kingdom. Whoever breaks the commandments is a law-breaker, and a blind guide of the blind, leading others astray.
Yeshua set the example for us to follow, "If you keep My commandments .. .. .. .. .. just as I have kept My Father's commandments", as the formula for abiding in His love. John 15:10
Yeshua kept the Father's commandments and said that He had not come to destroy them, but that they would be preserved until they were fulfilled. By implication, that it was wrong for anyone to teach that they had been done away with, or could be broken.
There were some things that Yeshua fulfilled. He made a complete atonement for our sin so that we no longer need to offer sacrifices, He is now our sacrifice, offered once for all time (Hebrews 10:11-18). He has also become our High priest so that now direct access has been opened up to us to the throne of God (Heb.10:19-22)
He promised the believers that He would send the Holy Spirit from the Father who would take His place and be in them to enable them to keep the Law in its fullness, and to fulfill the commission which He had given to them with signs following. It would be a spiritual impartation of His resurrected life that would empower them to walk in His ways. The commandments of the Father which He kept, will be the commandments which the believer, through the impartation of His life, will now be enabled to keep. Those commandments were incorporated into His life, and that life is imparted to us.
So, Yeshua's commandments are the commandments of the Father lived through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yeshua said, "If any man 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. He who does not love Me does not keep My words, and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me." John 14:23-24 His words are the Father's words, for He is the Word of God. When His word is dwelling in us, then both the Father and the Son will dwell in us. It is through us abiding in relationship with Him and His Word abiding in us, through our obedience to the Word, that we will have abiding communion with the Father and the Son.
The Word abides in us when we make it part of our life (John 15: 7).
We have received a deposit of His life through the Holy Spirit which he said would be our Counsellor, Comforter, Teacher. He said He would give the Holy Spirit to guide us in His absence and to teach us all things (John 15:25-26) which required specific instruction for our circumstances, the personal application of the Word to guide us. This does not take the place of the ministry gifts of teaching (Ephesians 4:11), nor will it ever contradict the written Word, the commandments given by the Father through the Son.
"But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone should teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things .. .. " 1 John 2:27
The commandments of God given at Sinai written on tablets of stone were mediated through the Son, the Word of God. The commandments of the Father written now upon our hearts, are imparted to us through His Son.