Are the Commandments Meant to be Kept Literally?
Many people exclaim, “No one can keep the commandments!” In a sense this is true, for we are carnally minded, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Verse six of this chapter tells us that to be carnally minded means death, but to be spiritually minded means life.
But when we become converted by the grace of God, we obtain the strength and will power to obey the Lord’s commandments. When we really love God, we should be able to obey Him for He tells us, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 15:14). To know and love our Lord means that we should keep His commandments. This is plainly stated in the Bible, not just in John 15:14, but also in 1 John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” So to know and love the Lord is to keep His commandments.
Revelation 22:14 states: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” And in 1 John 5:3, we read: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
God’s commandments can be shown in different ways—as loving God with all the heart and one’s neighbor as oneself (Luke 10:27), or believing on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and loving one’s brethren (1 John 3:23), or keeping the Ten Commandments. The Bible teaches that the Ten Commandments are the summation of the two laws, love to God and love to man (Matthew 19:17–19; 22:36–40; Romans 13:8–10).
The Law of Liberty
The Bible teaches that we will be judged by the law of God. James tells us: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty” (James 2:10-12 also Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
God Gives the Power
To be able to obey, we need to claim this promise, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). If the devil can lead us to sin, then God can certainly empower us not to sin, God is stronger than the devil! All that needed to be done could be done by the divine power. When the God’s laws are sincerely followed, He makes Himself responsible for the victory of the work done by the believer. In Christ, there is power to obey, strength to resist temptation, and patience to bear hardships. In Him, there is devotion and vitality for service.
In His service,