Commentary on "The Fruit of the Spirit is Righteousness"
Day 6: Thursday, March 11, 2010
In Wednesday’s lesson the author states that righteousness is connected to obedience. In Thursday’s lesson, the author specifically addresses what this obedience means: obeying the Ten Commandments. He quotes 1 John 5:1-3:
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
He further expounds on this by quoting Ellen White:
“The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely--because he is required to do so--will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God” (Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 97, 98).
He states that it is the love of God, and the focus on the cross, that motivates us to obey, not obligation.
First, righteousness is not connected to obedience of the Ten Commandments. As discussed in Wednesday’s commentary, Christ followers are not required to keep the Ten Commandments; the Law has been fulfilled through Jesus Christ. **Refer to Wednesday’s commentary for a more detailed study of this.
The author wrongly uses 1 John 5:1-3 as a proof-text for keeping the Ten Commandments out of love for God.
Let’s examine this text in it’s full context (1 John 5:1-5) to see what this text is really saying:
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Key points of this passage:
If “His commands” are not the Ten Commandments (as established earlier in Wednesday’s lesson), then what ARE “His commands”? 1 John 3: 21-24 clearly answers this:
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”
What is God’s command to us? To believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.
God asks us to trust Him and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When that happens, we become a child born of God. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit transforms us so that we are able to live out His presence in us. Because He lives in us, through His Spirit, we are able to love. Apart from His Spirit, we are incapable of truly loving one another.
When we apply that command—believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and love one another—to the above 1 John 5:1-5 passage, it confirms and validates what John is stating. “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (verse 5)
God is not calling us to obey the Ten Commandments. He is calling us to trust Him by believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior. He is calling us to allow Him into our lives to transform it, through His Spirit, so that we can demonstrate God’s love to one another. This is God’s command to us. This is the “obedience” He is asking us to do.
GO TO DAY 7
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