The subject came up in an e-mail that we feel like the chiefest of sinners because we can never quite measure up. Some people will think this and "continue in sin that grace may abound." As the Apostle Paul said, "God forbid!"

I truly believe Satan uses this method to defeat Christians into living unproductive, unvictorious Christian lives. "I can't do anything for Him anyhow. I was saved just as I am. I might as well stay just as I am. Jesus will still love me, and I still have a Home in Heaven." But we should be growing in Christlikeness! We should be living in obedience to God! It's our privilege and duty as Christians to at least ATTEMPT to keep His commandments.

But look at that. Don't get the cart before the horse! It's our privilege and duty AS CHRISTIANS. If you're not a Christian, keeping every commandment (even if any human being could) would not save us. We are born sinners, with that sin nature as descendants of Adam and Eve. So first, we must come to God the Father in THE WAY He Himself provided: through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. We do not earn our salvation through our own good works.

Look at these verses from Titus chapter 3:

3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

And of course the very plainspoken verses in Ephesians:

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We do not earn gifts! Prizes and rewards, yes. Gifts, no *_* Works do not enter into being born again. What work did you do to be born of your Mom & Dad? NOTHING! When we repent of our sin and accept God's plan of salvation--Jesus' blood washing our sin away, plus or minus NOTHING--we are born again into God's family!

But then look at the next verse in Titus 3:

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

AND in Ephesians 2:

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Once we are born again, we need to live like it. We need to walk like it, talk like it,.... You get the picture. This is true "religion": good works. But good works do not save us, nor do they "keep us" saved! Good works out of a heart of love for our Saviour signifies to the world around us that we ARE Christians!

Now, how do we know what constitutes "good works"? Same way we know what constitutes God's plan of salvation *_* The Word of God. The Holy Bible tells us what to do and not to do if we are children of the Father, joint heirs with the Son.

II Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Do we really want God's approval? We must study God's Word! Be a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed when we see Christ, because we have done what we could for our Saviour! Not to "earn His love". We can't do that. We should obey Him because we love Him!

Jesus said in Luke 6:46, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" And He told His disciples in John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

How do we know what God's commandments are? Read His Word! His law is not a burden; rather, obedience to His laws, His statutes, His commandments (see Psalm 119)...that brings BLESSING, both here in this life and reward for right-hearted obedience in the next! The Great White Throne Judgment is not for Christians, though we will witness the judgment and condemnation of those who refuse God's plan of salvation. Christians' works will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ according to this verse: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." II Corinthians 5:10. Again, how do we know what is good or bad? How do we know what we should be doing and refraining from? The same way we know how to be saved! God's Holy Word!

I have often heard men of God pray, "Help the lost to be saved and help the saved to live like it...." What exactly does that mean? If I am saved, I need to live like it. I need to be "a peculiar people", that I may "shew forth the praises of him who hath called [me] out of darkness into his marvellous light"!

Just LOOK at these verses about being a "peculiar people", being a testimony to God by our unworldliness:

Exodus 19:5, "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine...."

Deuteronomy 14:2, "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."

Deuteronomy 26:18, "And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments...."

Titus 2:14, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

And the one I just personalized above--I Peter 2:9, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light...."

We need to be sanctified...set apart..."in the world, but not of it". We should look and behave differently, not it a way that draws attention in a negative manner, but in a positive way...for God's namesake! We need to do our utmost to obey the Old Testament--Leviticus 20:7, "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God." And the New Testament--I Peter 1:15 & 16, "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

I love the Patch the Pirate song OBEDIENCE:

Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe:
Doing exactly what the Lord commands,
Doing it happily!
Action is the key, do it immediately.
Joy you will receive!
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe!

And you spell it O B E D I E N C E (yes, Sir!)
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe!

We want to live pure, we want to live clean,
We want to do our best.
Sweetly submitting to authority,
Leaving to God the rest!
Walking in the Light, keeping our attitudes right
On the narrow way;
For if we believe, the Word we receive,
We always will obey!

O B E D I E N C E (yes, Sir!)
Obedience is the very best way
To show that you believe!

So, will we earn something by our works? YES! If we do them with the right spirit, we will earn heavenly reward, both blessing here on Earth and reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ! But we do not earn Jesus' or the Father's love. We cannot earn God's love. He loved us when we were yet sinners *_* He loved the whole world, the good and the bad. He died for us all. But those who accept that magnificent, FREE gift of salvation need to show our thankful heart to the Gift Giver by obeying Him out of a heart of love...of adoration.

Summary: Are you a born-again, blood-bought, child of God? For God's namesake, LIVE LIKE IT! How? Read the Word and find out what He tells us to do and not to do to be an obedient child. Disciple others, that they, too, might know what it is to live the victorious Christian life! God gives us instruction in His Word, He gives us the strength to do what He commands, then He even rewards us for our obedience. What a mighty, loving, patient God we serve....

Some Obedience-themed hymns:
The Bible Stands
*Savior, Teach Me Day by Day*
**There Shall Be Showers of Blessing**
Soldiers of Christ, Arise!
Trust & Obey

*An unfamiliar but wonderful hymn
**A verse I had never heard of 'til recently....

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