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18. The New Commandments

1. Abide in Me and I in you.
2. Speak what God says you are.
3. Ask, believing that you have already received.
4. Give thanks for all things.
5. Love one another.
6. Give.
7. Watch out; take heed; beware.
8. Cleanse yourself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.
9. Do not love the world.
10. Be just like God.

18. The New Commandments

© Daniel Yordy 2011
 

I received an important question that must be considered.

Many of God’s commandments keep us out of trouble (like owe no man anything, but to love one another), how can “keeping” them be the tree of knowledge? Isn’t the tree of knowledge the wickedness of the world, how can it be pure and holy and good – and yet bring death when you eat it, how can it be the law?

~~~

We must see all things as they are. God comes to mankind in two utterly different forms.

First, God comes to us (since Adam) outside of us. God outside of us is called “The Law” or “the letter of the word.” Second, God comes to us inside of us. God inside of us is called, “Christ Jesus.” The form of God on the outside of us comes out of God. It is a description and definition of God, that is, God observed Himself and then defined what He observed onto paper (or stone tablets).

So when we read the commandments of God, Old Testament or New, we see an outward description and definition of who and what God is. Yet that outward definition of God cannot be our life, and it cannot ever save us. God made us to be filled with God; He did not make us to “act” like God, separate from Himself.

In complete contrast, God on the inside of us, the Person of the Lord Jesus, does not need a definition of Himself, He is Himself. Thus God inside of us is all that He is, light and life and love, abounding in us and flowing out from us.

By the law, God comes to us externally in instructions written down on paper that we read or are read to us or He comes as a “Voice” that is, to us, from a Being separate from us. By those external instructions, we know what is “right” and what is “wrong,” what is “good” and what is “evil.” Then, since we see ourselves separate from God, we see ourselves as a moral agent who is responsible for his or her own choices. Paul made it clear that if we attempt to walk with God by external definitions, either Christian or Old Testament, we must die.

Thus God is either coming to us from the outside of us, or God is coming to us on the inside of us. The first is the law, the second is Christ.

Now, the entire Bible goes in either direction. Those who see God outside of themselves and not their very and only life, see “the Law,” that is, an external definition of God all through the Bible, Old Testament and New. And those who see God filling them with His glory, they in Him and He in them, utterly and only, see Christ, that is, the revelation of Christ all through the Bible, Old Testament and New.

To those who live separate from God, the entire Bible speaks separation – the ministry of death unto death. But to those who live in union with the Person of God inside of them, the entire Bible speaks of union – the ministry of life unto life.

“Jesus, You are my Life. You fulfill all that God speaks in me, as me, and through me. I give you thanks for the weakness You made me to be, and I expect You always to arise in me.”

When people refer to God’s commandments in the New Testament, they have no idea what those are most of the time. People look for outward commandments, and they cannot see Christ Jesus, the life of the New Covenant.

What are the commandments of the New Testament? Most Christians have never considered such a question.  Some years ago, I typed out every single commandment in the New Testament, and then I retyped them again into categories, putting similar commandments together. I have them in my file.

I was astonished at what I discovered. I want to share with you the commandments of the New Testament, categorized into a group of TEN. Most Christians do not obey most of these commandments, especially the most important ones. And they despise the largest New Testament commandment and will claim you are of the devil if you take God seriously.

Before I go through that list of ten, let’s look at the biggest commandment of the Bible. This is God in your face, sitting upon you, bony finger pointing right at your eyeballs. “Be just like God.”

Be perfect, just exactly like your Father is perfect. — Love as God loves. — Forgive, just exactly like God forgives. — Be holy as God is holy. — Walk, in exactly the same way that Jesus walked.

Do you obey this largest command in the Bible, to be just like God? Most Christian’s reject the idea and condemn anyone who takes it seriously. “Who do you think you are? You can’t do any of this. In fact, God doesn’t want you to do these things, and if you try, you are just being like the devil, who wanted to be like God, and God will bring you down for your presumption.”

Can we be just like God? There are two answers. One of them honors God; Caleb spoke it. “We are well able to do and to be all that God says.” The others looked at themselves and cried, “Grasshoppers.” And God said, “Why do they keep treating Me like dirt?”

Yet we cannot start with that largest of all commandments, and so I will place it last. We must begin with the tree of life. For all of these commandments are the tree of life, and they are fulfilled in our lives only out of that tree. All of these commandments are nothing other than Jesus Himself, in Person, as He is the life of God inside of us.

Let me give you the short list first, then I will expand and explain. The first commandment stands over all in absolute importance. Obey it and all others will follow; disobey it and all others fail.

   1. Abide in Me and I in you.

   2. Speak what God says you are.

   3. Ask, believing that you have already received.

   4. Give thanks for all things.

   5. Love one another.

   6. Give.

   7. Watch out; take heed; beware.

   8. Cleanse yourself from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.

   9. Do not love the world.

  10. Be just like God.

 

1. Abide in Me and I in you.

– walk in the Spirit; walk in the light (which is Christ), with the blood cleansing you from all sin. Put on the new man.

The first commandment is the tree of life. It is the source of all that is God in our lives. We abide in Christ by faith; He abides in us by faith. We do not go by what our eyes see, but by what God says. It is especially my sinfulness that I must place in Christ. If I cannot believe that He carries all of my human lack inside of Himself right now, how can I believe that He took my sins upon the cross 2000 years ago? It is easy to see ourselves in Christ when we are feeling wonderful; but to abide in Him, we must see ourselves in Him when we are feeling our worst. It is easy to see Christ in me when I am doing what I call “good,” but it is essential that I see Christ in me when I have failed, messed up, and even when I have sinned.

Now, for many years I understood “abiding” to be a willful act. That is, every moment I faced two choices, doing it Christ’s way or doing it my way. Abiding in Christ meant that I refused my way and did it His way. Most of the time, according to my thinking, I did it my way. Why did I think that? Because whenever I felt “bad” or “far away” from the Lord, I assumed that I was “in the flesh.” And because other Christians let me know that I must be “in the flesh.” I watched others try very, very hard to do it “His way,” but I never liked what I saw; somehow, they had become unwholesome, pretending to be something they were not.

Abiding in Christ is something entirely different. In fact, the belief that I must choose, all the time, between my way and His way is, in itself, the carnal mind, and all that belief can do is kill me.

I am in Christ because God has placed me there. Christ is in me because He is! I know this truth by faith. Abiding in Christ has nothing to do with what I feel or perceive or do.  God says that I am not in the flesh; I am in the Spirit. I reject all evidence of my eyes in this world. I abide in Christ entirely because of what God says. Thus I come to an utter rest and certainty that, no matter what, He carries all of me inside of Himself at all times. I am in Him, period. He fills every part of me with all of Himself at all times.

Even when I look at my sin, all I see is Christ – dead upon the cross, and that is an end of it. There is no sin in Christ.

I cannot choose between my way and His way. His way is my way and my way is His way. The Lord Jesus Christ and I are one: I in Him and He in me. Abiding in Christ is faith; it is the boldness of presumption; it stands entirely upon what God says. Abiding in Christ resists all voices of doubt, giving all glory to Him, yet content in the present moment of human-ness.

But how can we know that we are abiding in Him and He in us? God has given us two simple commands that every human being, down to the simplest child can easily do. Speak all that God says you are, and ask all that God speaks concerning you, believing absolutely that you have already received all that you asked.

 

2. Speak what God says you are.

– “Christ is my life; I have no other life.”

The second commandment is how we fulfill the first. Yet it is possibly the least obeyed commandment in the New Testament. If we will not obey this command, are we really Christians? Here are some of the forms that it takes:

Reckon that you are already dead to sin. — Reckon that you are alive to God. — Deny yourself – declare that you are not a “self” separate from God. — Confess the Lord Jesus — Acknowledge the good things of Christ in you. — Hold fast the confession (keep on speaking) of your hope (that you are just like Jesus – 1 John 3:2-3) without wavering. Hebrews 10:23

This last phrase from Hebrews 10 means almost nothing to most who read it, yet I place it as second in importance and the means by which we know the reality of abiding in Christ. To put it into simple English, it should be paraphrased this way: “Speak what God says you are.”

Speaking what God says we are does not make us what we are. There is nothing “magical” in declaring, “Christ is my life; I have no other life.” What such a vocal declaration does is open our eyes to see Christ, the One who fills our hearts, that His light might fill every part of our understanding. Where does this phrase come from? It comes from combining obedience to Romans 6:11 with Paul’s declaration concerning us in Colossians 3:3-4.

I have been speaking this word, “Christ is my life; I have no other life,” now, in all that it means, since the fall of 2006. By speaking this word in obedience to the command of the gospel, my eyes continue to open, I continue to awake out of sleep. I see Christ; I see Him in me and me in Him.

I do not disobey this second commandment by rooting around looking for sin, or digging up selfishness in my heart. I do not defy God by declaring that I have a sinful nature – two hearts, two minds – that I “walk in the flesh”; God says no such thing about me. I do not “weep” over sin; neither do I wallow in it, nor wear it as a badge. Sin becomes such a meaningless discussion in the presence of the Majestic One who fills my heart and in the presence of His BLOOD that flows over me at all times.

 

3. Ask, believing that you have already received.

– all that God speaks – ask and keep on asking, but ask in faith, believing that you have already received all that you ask.

If I have asked God to fill my heart with His love, then in obedience to the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ, I must believe that God has fully given me what I have asked. I do not groan and cry in unbelief. I know that the love of God abounds in my heart. How do I know? Because I asked according to what God speaks (Romans 5:5).

If I ask God to conform me to the image of His dear Son, then I believe that I have already received what I ask. If I ask God to fulfill His perfection in Me, according to His command, then I believe that I have already received all that I ask.

I can ask anything God speaks, and God has already fulfilled it in me. I believe it. Why do I believe it? Because Jesus commanded me to believe it, and I obey His command.

Jesus’ command to us to ask was a big deal to Him. You can hear the urgency in His voice in John 16:23-24 as He closes out that which is most important in His heart for His disciples to grasp and to know.

And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Yet how many Christians pull away from this command because it is too overwhelming to obey. Paying tithes is easy; anyone can do that. Asking God to fulfill in me all that He speaks and then believing that He has already done so – that’s  too big of a requirement for most people.

Do you see how the tree of life works in our lives? These first three commands stand over all other commands in the Bible. All that is God flows out of obedience to the first commandment of the New Testament – to walk in union with Jesus. And we know the reality of that first commandment by our obedience to the second and third.

Listen, if your ear rings are too showy, or you drink a bit more than one glass of wine, or you mow the lawn on Sunday afternoon (or, God forbid, Saturday morning), what is that?

But if you fail to speak what God says you are; if you disobey the urgent command of Jesus to ask all that God speaks and to believe that you have already received what you ask, then you fail to abide in Christ and you cannot know His life in you as it really is.

The other seven commandments in this list, all that God speaks, and all that Christ is in our lives flow out of obedience to these first three commandments.

The obedience of faith is critical for life. Yet when you see what is most important to God, that which is the tree of life, you see how little that has to do with what most people think when they hear, “Obey what God speaks.”

Most of what God actually commands us in the New Covenant is buried under the massive weight of 2000 years of Christian unbelief, and most of what Christians call “obedience” ends up being nothing different than the doctrine of the Pharisees, making stuff up and calling it, “God.”

 

4. Give thanks for all things.

There are many other New Testament commands inside of this one – rejoice always, be of great cheer when everything goes wrong, count it all joy when you are tempted with evil.  Even the second most frequent command in the New Testament fits easily into giving thanks – “Do not be afraid.”

Revelation 21 reveals to us the glory of full union with Christ. Verse 21 gives us the secret of how we enter into incorruptible union with Him. “The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl.” This chapter is not describing “heaven,” it is describing the nature of our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. And we enter into that union through pearls.

A pearl is a reaction to pain and discomfort. An oyster creates a pearl when a grain of sand gets under its shell, rubbing and irritating it. The oyster coats that grain of sand with a secretion that slowly builds and hardens into a pearl.

Do we understand how important it is for God’s purpose for us to live under vanity in the discomfort of life in this world? There is no entrance into union with Christ to be found in “heaven” because the entrance into that union is how we respond to all the difficulties and grief of life in this world.

When we give thanks for things that are not right in our lives, acknowledging God’s sovereignty over all, when we rejoice when everything in our lives goes wrong, when we count it all joy when ill-feelings and discouragements are hurled at us, when we dance on this side of the sea, when we exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in us, though we see it not, then we are entering into a glory of union with the Lord Jesus Christ that all the hosts of heaven cannot know.

This is a good commandment to obey. You can force yourself to give thanks, you can do it “in your flesh,” you can growl it out with gritted teeth, no matter, it will change your life. And should we forget to give thanks? No matter, we give thanks when we remember, and we give thanks for forgetting.

Because Jesus wants us in full union with Himself, and because this is the way the Father has ordained, you can be certain that He will lead us many times into those places between Egyptian armies and impassible Red Seas, He will guide us through valleys of the shadow of death, He will beset our way with difficulties so that we will have an ongoing opportunity to enter into full union with Him through giving thanks, through our response to the pain.

It is so hard for our human mind to wrap around the belief that God brings us into difficult situations. We faced one just a few days ago. My wife and I prayed together a proclamation of full and total victory though we absolutely did not see it. What a sea-change we have known since we made that declaration together! Suddenly doors that we had not seen appeared before us and a way is there, though before we knew it not. That is outward, but inwardly is Christ being formed in us; that is glory indeed.

I know lots of Christians who “obey” in many outward things. But to give thanks for all things at all times, this is obedience indeed.

 

5. Love one another.

We cannot express how much this command means to the Lord Jesus. It is the overflowing burden of His heart. Never do we ask ourselves if we have this love or not. God says, in Romans 5: 5 “…the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” This is absolute truth. God does not lie. Never, never, never do we imagine that our hearts are filled with anything other than the overflowing love of God. Who cares what we “feel like” in a moment of time? Do our feelings speak truth and call God a liar? Of course not!

The love of God is poured out in our hearts. We boldly believe what God says.

The LARGEST concern of the New Testament is not getting right with God or evangelizing the lost, it is the love relationship between brethren in the church. The largest number of commands in the New Testament are found inside of “Love one another.” In fact, it is only through loving one another in the church that salvation will come to all who are lost. Jesus was very specific on this point.

But James and John both say that love without giving is empty. On the other hand, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 that giving without love is worthless.

God in us is love; and God through us is a river of life. Love is the source, the throne of God, our hearts, and giving is the river of life flowing out of our hearts to bring healing and life and joy to all whom it touches.

 

6. Give.

Freely you have received, freely give. — If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink . . . out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.

The command to give does include that which is needed outwardly, food, clothing, shelter. It even includes, on the very outer edges, the giving of money. But primarily it means to give that which we have received – the river of life from the throne of God. As we drink of Him, the river flows. It flows whether we see it flow or whether we don’t. Do not ever imagine that the river of life is not flowing out of you when you don’t “see” it. Because you believe in Jesus, people whom you may not even know or ever see are being touched by healing and by life.

Yet, people come to know Jesus when they see with their eyes how much Christians love one another, and that “seeing” is of a visible, active giving. I am not much for “evangelism” that is divorced from seeing the love of God among believers in Jesus. Neither Paul, Peter, James, nor even John exhorted their readers to “get out and save the lost.” (I do not speak here against any who move in the heart burden of “go and tell” that they have received from Jesus.)

I have a very high view of my Savior. Many Christians think He is limited and wimpy, sitting up there wringing His hands. The Father sent Him to seek and to save all that is lost. God tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:28 that Jesus does exactly that.  Jesus wins; He brings all that God created back into loving submission to the Father.  All.  God is not bound by the crime Jerome committed against Him at the bottom of the fall into Roman darkness, that hideous accusation that God tortures forever those whom He refuses to save.  We do not belittle the power by which Jesus subdues all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)

Jesus is Salvation. The earnest prayer and desire of Salvation is that we would love one another. “Give” is the being of God. It is by giving that God exists. God in us gives Himself freely to all, and especially to one another.

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

We are never more like God than when we are kind to one another. When we are tenderhearted, when we forgive one another, we are never more like God.