Motives or Obedience
From the very beginning, God has made obedience to His commands the only test of love and loyalty (Genesis 2:17). Man was not to eat from the one tree bearing the name “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (verse 9). This tree in the garden revealed that man was a free moral agent. Man’s service was not forced; he might either obey or disobey. The decision was his. Sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command. And this action showed a divided heart (Genesis 3:6).
But it is God who, gives the believer the ability to obey and walk in line with His Word. “for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (1 John 4:7). The believer needs only to submit his will to God. Then, God does the work of obedience in the believer’s heart by His grace. When this is experienced, the believer can then declare, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
John writes that at the end of time every soul will receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast. And the test will be over obedience to the law. The Lord gives the description of the saints as those who keep the commandments of God: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). “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” (Revelation 22:14).
Obedience that originates from force or from fear is not the ideal form of obedience. Obedience without the motive of love is not pleasing to God. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). All actions should be stirred by devotion and gratitude to God for what He did and for who He is. One of the best human illustrations of obedience that springs from love is that of children to their parents.
Thus, we see that the condition that God set up for man to remain in Eden becomes the same condition for man to return to Paradise. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Son of God endorsed the moral commands given to ancient Israel (Matthew 5:17–19) and magnified them (Isaiah 42:21).
He also gave the new commandment of love (John 13:34), not to replace any of the Ten Commandments, which reflected the character of the unchangeable God, but to summarize the Ten Commandments where the first four commandments express man’s love to God (Exodus 20:2-11) and the last six commandments express man’s love to his fellow men (Exodus 20:12-17),
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In His service,