Luke Chapters 11-15. We should just skip these chapters. Jesus is demanding too much of us! We have to repent or perish. Our relationship with Him has to be more important than any other relationship or thing in this life. We have to hate mother, father, wife, husband, children, etc. We need to humble ourselves. We must consider the cost of following Him. We have to give up everything or we cannot be His disciples.
Following Him has to be a lifetime decision. There is no turning back! We must forgive others of their sins, or we won't be forgiven. We have to not only hear the word of God, but also obey it. We need to fear Him who has the power to cast us into hell. If we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, we will not be forgiven. We must confess Him before men. We have to guard against greed. We need to watch and be ready for His return. We have to enter in through the narrow door. My question is, doesn't Jesus understand Eph. 2:8-9? Which says, we're saved by grace not by works?
Eph. 2:8-2:9 has been mis-used and abused by the church. It means that without Jesus' work at the cross, we'd all be going to hell. There's no work we could have done to prevent that. So, there's no boasting. We need to repent and accept what He did for us. He provided the way for us to have a relationship with the living God who created all that is. But that doesn't let us off the hook. We have to keep His commandments. The church has used Eph. 2:8-9 to water down Jesus' words. "We can't do what Jesus told us to do because we're all sinners, but we are saved by grace and not by works so it's OK."
Let's just make a pledge, take an oath, make a commitment, or promise to do what He wants us to do. That will be sufficient! But Jesus said you can't make one hair black or white! Matt. 5:33. What makes you think that your pledge is going to help you. Your pledge is evil! I'm the only one that can help you. Keep my commandments! But I try and I fail. That's exactly the point. I want to keep His commands, but I can't do it. I need to confess that I can't do it and that I need Jesus to change me! I need him to make me into a new creation that is able to keep his commandments.
Luke 11:28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Again, are we saved by grace or by works? Because obeying Him is work. (But it's not work if your born again. It's a light yoke. It's blessed rest and recreation to your soul!) That's the key.
Explanation – When we not only hear what the Lord is saying to us, but also obey what He is saying, we cultivate our relationship with the Lord. We enhance that relationship. Thus, blessing is encountered because of the doing and not just the hearing.
Obeying is work. But we’re saved by grace, not by works. Eph. 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. This means that we don’t deserve salvation! We’ve all fallen short of God’s standard. Jesus fulfilled that standard and was sacrificed on the cross. He took all of our sins and failures upon Himself! Jesus set us free! We were unable to set ourselves free from the bondage of sin. (So, there is no boasting!)
If the ultimate blessing of being saved is free, why should one be concerned with works and further blessing? Well, because Jesus said so. Matt. 7:24-27. Build on the Rock. Matt. 25:14-30, the parable of the talents. John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” 1 John 2:3-5. 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. These sayings all involve work and relationship!
And again, Verse 4, Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. Again, this is work!
5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: This is how we have assurance. This is how we can have eternal security!
Keep His Commands
Initially, I started trying to keep His commandments because I didn't want to go to hell. After I was saved and baptized, I tried to keep His commandments because I wanted to be religious and do what unsaved people weren't doing. But I couldn't do it. I tried and failed! That's exactly the point. We can't keep His commandments. It's impossible to do it on our own, with our own strength. Trying to keep His commands makes one realize that without His help, one can do nothing.
This drives a person to repentance and confession. Confession goes like this; Lord, forgive me. I've failed to keep your commands. I want to keep them, but I can't do it without your help. If it's going to happen, you have to do something in me. You have to change me. I need to be born of a new nature. I need to be born again! Please install this new nature within me Lord so I can do what you ask me to do and grow in my relationship with you! Help me to love you with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Help me to keep your commands.
So, His commands firstly help one to realize that without Him one can do nothing. They drive one to confession and repentance and into the arms of His mercy and grace. This then enables Jesus to install a new nature into said person. Now, one is able to Love Jesus with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength and keep His commandments and grow in their relationship with Him!
So, initial salvation is free of charge. All we need to do is confess and repent. But I want to grow in my relationship with Jesus, which involves work. I want to grow in my relationship with Him because I love Him. Just like Jesus said in John 14:15. If you love me, keep my commands. In other words, what's my motive for doing the works? Why do I keep His commands? I keep them because I love Jesus. I love Him because He died for me on the cross. I’m thankful for that wonderful work that He accomplished on my behalf. Doing works for any other reason than that requires a motive check and reset, if necessary.
I keep His commands because He's enabled me to do it. He's given me a new nature. He's changed me! This is a light yoke and easy to be born, being that I have a new nature. This is blessed rest and recreation to my soul! Matt. 28-30.
Then, I need to ask myself (because keeping His commands is directly related to my love for Jesus), Is it possible to be saved and not love Jesus? Is it possible to be saved and not have a relationship with Jesus? Well maybe, initially. But we need to grow in our relationship with Him so that we can participate in the wedding feast. We need to cloth ourselves with the proper wedding garments. Matt. 22:10-14.