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"...by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." -1 John 2:3
The impact of the Upper Room Discourse found in John's gospel cannot be overstated as it relates to his continued ministry. These words are derived from Christ's words to His disciples during His final moments with them before His betrayal, "If you love Me, keep my commandments."* This idea is not meant to be conditional in nature - like an exchange of services. Rather, the thought rests on the foundation of a pre-established relationship which drives the disciple's actions. To paraphrase: since you love Me, you will keep my commandments. Remember that our deeds are the evidence of our faith; and in John's verse we can reconcile the legalist and the laggard.
"My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." -1 John 2:1
The saint's responsibility is to follow the Shepherd closely - to be holy. Our holiness is purely contingent on our faith in Christ and cannot be arrived at through our own works. But this does not diminish the call of Christ to pick up, and bear our cross daily. Most assuredly the weight of that cross is too much to carry, and we will all lose strength at some point. This is where we best understand the grace of our Lord - who stands eternally between us and our just punishment. He bore His cross once, for all, and makes us holy by His own blood. So be holy, just as He is holy. He will equip us with the required endurance. And should we falter along the way, He lifts our heads into eternity.
Anthony is the Pastor of Living Water Christian Fellowship.