Both The Outward And Inward Are Important

One of the favorite buzz phrases people use whenever the subject of living a pure and holy life is brought up is “God looks on the heart.” While that is true, that does not mean that the outside is not important. The bible declares in James that our works are important because to a lost and dying world that is the only evidence of Christianity they might ever see.

John, who was known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” places works in its proper place in the life of the Christian. First, he declares that he is speaking to the sons of God. That is a reference to those who have put their faith in Christ and His finished work at Calvary.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure (1 John 3:1-3).

He then goes on to say that every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself even as Christ is pure. The bible says in Revelation that Christ is as a lamb that had been slain. In the Old Testament only lambs that had no spot or blemish were fit for sacrifice. John is saying that just as Christ was pure and holy, if we have the hope of eternal life, which is also called the blessed hope that believers have then we will purify ourselves.

The reason for this purification is solely because of our love and gratitude for what Christ did on the cross for us. God does not want us to obey Him and live holy out of fear and trepidation. Rather, we should serve Him out of love for what He has done for us. The bible says “we love Him because He first loved us.” Notice whose love came first. It was God’s love, then after He gave us His precious love it causes us to love Him.

John also goes on to teach that a person cannot claim that they love God while disobeying His commandments. Love will produce holiness in the heart of the believer. Just as a child will go out of their way to please their parents, so too if we love our heavenly Father, we will live a holy life in order to please Him.

The idea of not wanting to live holy out of gratitude for someone who gave His life for you is the worst form of ingratitude imaginable. As Christ say in (Matthew 15:8), “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” Loving someone is not all about the kind words we tend to say to that person; instead, it’s about the types of sacrifices we are willing to make on behalf of that person whom we claim we deeply care about. We should not look at it as if “I have to live holy,” but instead to say with joy, “I get to live holy to show God I love Him.” The question is not whether you have to live holy or not, the question is do you love God or not.

One thing that’s quite noticeable through that passage of Scripture which is found in (John 14:15) is the fact that Jesus really hits the nail on the head by making that straightforward statement “If you love me, obey my commandments.”  Many people often claim that they love God while living their lives in a way contrary to His Word. In other words, they live their lives in such a fashion that doesn’t reflect a life which is based on loving Christ. 

Since, you are fully aware of your own lifestyles, if you find yourself among that group of people; God is clearly telling you that this type of love is unacceptable to Him. He is calling you instead to change your own ways, your conducts, your attitudes, your own ways of thinking, and your own ideas concerning holiness, godliness, and serving Him to His ways because your love for Him is measured solely through the means of your willingness to obey the commandments found in His written Word.

To summarize this article based on God’s Word, the message is quite clear if you love God; you obey or keep His commandments. However, if you are deliberately breaking His commandments by living according to your own ways, your sinful nature, or you are doing what is right in your own eyes, this is clear evidence that you don’t love Him.

Related resources:

  1. A Critical Call By God To Holy Living
  2. What Does It Really Mean To Live For Christ Alone?
  3. How To Successfully Live A Spirit Filled Life

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