Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.
After our previous lessons, I think this verse that came is a great affirmation for us. We talked about how the plan of salvation for mankind was ordained by God the Father before the beginning of time … before the foundations of the earth were laid. And here we are told by Moses – “THIS God is the faithful God.” Indeed, God has been faithful to HIS creation from eternity past! In His sovereignty, God the Father has ordained everything that has ever been … everything that will ever be. And we KNOW this faithful God. As Moses declared, “The Lord your God IS God.” There can be no question regarding His identity. He is the God who rescued His people from the bondage of Egyptian rule … who delivered them from oppression … who in His mercy would “pass over” the first-born of those who applied the blood of a sacrificial lamb to the doorposts and lintels of their homes … Yes, He is the Almighty God, showing His power on behalf of those who love Him, And He is faithful. He is the One who sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to bear the death penalty for our sin so that we could be deemed righteous when we stand before the Him….
Yes, God the Father keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments! You and I can fully trust Father God because He has already demonstrated His own love for us in this: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Cf. Romans 5:8) And the Apostle John affirmed this same truth: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins. (Cf. 1 John 4:10) Indeed, God is faithful to us; and so the question becomes, “Are we faithful to God?” Are we trustworthy? Does God trust you … does He trust me … in our relationships with Him? It is an appropriate question to ask because it reveals the sincerity of our faith in Him … the genuineness of our faith in Him. And this is the purpose of the testing of our faith. (Cf. Deuteronomy 8:2; 8:16; 1 Peter 1:7)
Note how God is faithful to keep His covenant of love with “those who love Him and keep (obey) His commandments”. Sound familiar?
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV)
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 7:12 (NIV)
If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep His covenant of love with you, as He swore to your ancestors.
Deuteronomy 11:13 (NIV)
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul—
Deuteronomy 11:22 (NIV)
If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him and to hold fast to Him—
Jesus spoke the same words to His disciples. He said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15) His words are not suggestive. They are not ambiguous. They are directive and clear! He went on to teach: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. (John 15:10) Oh, the question is not whether God loves us. The question is whether we truly love God … love Him in truth by keeping (obeying) His commands. Keeping His commands is HOW we demonstrate our love for God. As John wrote: “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) Do you see it? His commands are NOT burdensome. They are not hard to keep. Why? “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4) What does faith do? It overcomes the world and its darkness! As John tells us: “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:5)
Faith brings us to Jesus and Jesus embodied and fulfilled love of God. Jesus completed the love of God. Jesus is His covenant of love for us! Jesus, the One who saved us … the One who loved us and gave Himself for us … now lives in us. (Cf. Galatians 2:20) And apart from Jesus, we can do nothing:
John 15:1-8 (NIV)
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) And, “This is my command” Love each other.” (John 15:17) And so apart from Him, we cannot love as He has loved us. The full discourse of John 15 is centered on abiding in Jesus in order to fulfill His command to love each other. I’m not sure we could reach any other conclusion. And, as we studied, this is the purpose of our salvation – that we would abide in Jesus Christ in order to love one another. God has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. This is the light He has brought into the world: LOVE! So I will close with this Scripture to examine:
1 John 4:10-21 (NIV)
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. 13 This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because He first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.