Recognizing His Commandments
‘And this is His commandment.’—I John iii. 23.
WE may be quite sure of three things,—first, that whatever our Lord commands us, He really means us to do ;1 secondly, that whatever He commands us is ‘for our good always;’2 and, thirdly, that whatever He commands us, He is able and willing to enable us to do, for ‘all God’s biddings are enablings.’5
But do we practically recognize all His commandments as commandments, and the breach of any one of them as sin?* As we read each precept, let us solemnly say to ourselves, * This is His commandment;’ and oh, what a touchstone of guilt will it be! How we shall see that what we have been excusing as infirmity and natural weakness which we could not help, and shortcomings with regard to impossible standards, has been all sin, transgression, disobedience, needing to be bitterly repented of, needing nothing less than blood, the precious blood of Christ,5 for atonement and cleansing,
^ Deut. xii. 32. 2 Deut. vi. 24. 3 2 Cor. ix. 8, xii. 9.
^ Ps. cxix. 4; Jas. ii. 10. 5 Heb. ix. 22.
needing nothing short of Omnipotence to strengthen us against it.1
Perhaps this is the sad secret of many a mourning life among God’s children. They are calling sin by other names.2 They think it is only natural temperament and infirmity, for which they are to claim sympathy, to go on doubting and distrusting their Saviour and their God; yet ‘this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ,’3 and this, ‘Trust in Him at all times.’4 They think they are to be tenderly pitied for having such a burden to bear, and such sadness of heart; yet this is His commandment, ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord;’5 and this, ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway.’ * They do not think they can exactly help their hearts being so cold that they do not know whether they love Him or not; yet this is His commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” They almost feel as if their state were a rather interesting one.
Yet, oh! dear friend, if the Lord has indeed commanded these things, it is a state of disobedience. If He has said them, He means you to do them. Oh, come face to face with His word; do not shrink from the terrible shock of seeing sin where you only thought of infirmity. It is by the word that He has spoken that you will be judged,8 not by man’s excusing euphemisms. You are committing sin in doubting Him; you are directly disobedient in not trusting Him, not casting your
1 Isa. xl. 29. 2 Heb. xii. i, 2. 3 i John iii. 23.
?4 Ps. Ixii. 8. 5 Ps. Iv. 22. 6 Phil. iv. 4.
‘ Matt. xxii. 37. 8 John xii. 48.
burden upon Him; not rejoicing alway in Him; you are a transgressor of His ‘ first and great commandment 1 in not loving Him. ‘Thou art become a transgressor of the law,’ ‘guilty of all.’2
Oh! if the Holy Spirit flashes the light which He only can flash upon these commandments, and shows you the sins which, child of God though you are, you have never yet recognized as such, you cannot and will not rest in them, if indeed ‘the root of the matter is found ‘3 in you. It will wring from you an agony cry of ‘Lord, have mercy upon me, and incline my heart to keep this law,’ as He turns that terrible and yet merciful light on each. If you do not yet ‘see it quite so strongly,’ ask that blessed Spirit to show you, at any cost, what He has, sooner or later, to show you. For He will not show you the sin without the remedy. And never will the precious blood of Christ have been so precious to you as when, after such an entirely startling revelation of the guilt of your position of disobedience, you come, despairing of yourself, to the Fountain,* and find the cleansing and sanctifying and overcoming power of the blood of the Lamb.5
In that power make haste and delay not to keep His commandments,6 and then shall you not be ashamed when you have respect unto All His commandments.7
1 Matt. xxii. 38. – Jas. ii. 10, 11. 2 Job xix. 28.
* I John i. 9. 6 Rev. xii. zi. * Ps. cxix. 60.
^ Ps. cxix. 6.