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The Commandments

Are the commandments necessary for our salvation?

The purpose of God giving us His commandments and who they apply to is often misunderstood. The prophet David cried out “I will run the course of Your commandments,” (Psalms 119:32). The Hebrew word for ‘course’ is derek which denotes “the path of life, of course of life, of moral character”. [1] The commandments are instructions as to how we are to live a spiritual life here, as we sojourn on this earth. What is this path of life that the commandments teach us to walk? “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14). According to the Messiah, the path of the commandments is a hidden path that is difficult to walk, with only a few being able to find it. This is the very reason why David prayed “Do not hide Your commandments from me” (Psalms 119:19); understanding that the path to life are the commandments and are hidden, it was a prayer from the depths of the prophet’s soul, to understand how to walk this course of life.

The state of the current church is a concern, given for the most part many no longer believe that the commandments apply to them; they were only given for the Jews, and we are now under grace. Without the commandments the church is walking in darkness, not having found the path that leads to life. Most churches will teach that we merely need to “confess Jesus Christ is Lord” and we will be saved, or just ask Jesus to come into our hearts. However, there is no example of any apostle conducting this method of salvation with anyone, especially in the book of Acts. In the Gospel of John, Jesus stated “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” (John 14:21), this is the way that the Father and the Son are able to manifest to a person, by keeping the commandments. The Scriptures say that God is light” (1John 1:5) and that we are to “walk in the light just as He walks in the light.” (1 John 1:7). So far we understand from the Scriptures that the commandments are a way of life, a path of light, a path to God, a difficult path to walk, a hidden path that only a few will find, and the Father will manifest Himself to those who walk them out. Barnabas discusses the path of light coinciding with the commandments as well.

The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. Thou shalt love Him that created thee: thou shalt glorify Him that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be simple in heart, and rich in spirit. Thou shalt not join thyself to those who walk in the way of death. Thou shalt hate doing what is unpleasing to God: thou shalt hate all hypocrisy. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, but shalt be of a lowly mind. Thou shalt not take glory to thyself. Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not allow over-boldness to enter into thy soul. Thou shalt not commit fornication: thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not be a corrupter of youth. Thou shalt not let the word of God issue from thy lips with any kind of impurity. [2]

Barnabas is discussing the path of light by citing the commandments of God, which are to be followed. The commandments produce knowledge to walk this path of light. The opposite of walking out these commandments is a path of darkness. By willful disobedience we walk the path of destruction that many have walked and only a few will, of their own free will, obey the commandments of the Lord. Ultimately, the reason people do not choose to walk this path is because they truly do not love God. Jesus himself said “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) and “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love,” (John 15:10), thus proving our love not merely with our lips, but through our actions by obeying the commandments.

Knowledge and obedience to the commandments produce the nature of love within us and they are designed to draw us closer to God. Scripture says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8). The commandments are to be written in our hearts which creates a purity within our soul (2 Corinthians 3:3; Deuteronomy 6:6; Psalm 37:1).
St. Clement, a student of both Apostle Paul and Peter, connects love and the commandments, as a means to unite us to God. Keeping the commandments is a manifestation of love in us that will allow a chosen saint to reach perfection.

Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. (Jam_5:20; 1Pe_4:8) Love beareth all things, is long-suffering in all things. (Comp. 1Co_13:4, etc.) There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God, His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls. [3]

The church today has departed from the commandments of God for the most part, because they deem them only applicable to the Jews. Jesus prophesied this would happen and that the church would depart from the commandments, as a sign of the end times, when He said “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12 NKJV). Another translation reads, “and many people’s love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah.” (Matthew 24:12 CJB). These are truly the days of lawlessness, not just from what we see on the News, but of the absence of God’s Torah (Law) and the Commandments in the church. What we see in the news is a manifestation of where the church is at. For the church to be ready, to bring the peace and love on this earth that it so desperately needs, it needs to repent and come back to the Torah, to His commandments. Not of the letter, but of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6). The church needs a prophetic voice to write the commandments on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) so that there is a transformation in character and not merely following words on a page. To God be the glory. Amen.

References

  1. Strongs Dictionary, Ancient Hebrew Lexicon Bible
  2. Barnabas-Epistle 2 Ch. XIX Vol. 1
  3. St. Clement-Letter to Corinthians Ch. XLIV Vol. 1