“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (Pro. 10:5).
The new man discerns between the material world and the souls who are living in the world. He turns from the souls who are in the world to serve God. He turns to follow his Master who did nothing of himself (John 5:19). God commands his children to love all of the souls in the world, whether our neighbors or our enemies (Matt. 5:44). Though we are commanded to love our neighbor, we are also admonished not to be his friend. “… know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Though the new man is to love the (souls in the) world, he is not to have fellowship, communion or concord with them. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor. 6:14-16). We are to come out from among them and be separate from them (2 Cor. 6:17). We are to love the souls in the world by doing good to them when we have opportunity, praying for them (Matt. 5:44) and feeding and clothing them when they are in need (Rom. 12:20). The new man is informed of what needs are: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8). If our enemy or someone in the world has needs, we love our neighbor as ourselves by supplying his needs. He does not fellowship, commune or have concord with the souls in the world, but in that sense he comes out and is separate from them.
The new man also turns from the material world. Jesus admonished the Jews that “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). The Pharisees knew what mammon was and mocked him, for they knew they loved mammon because they coveted the material things of this world – which is mammon. (Luke 16:14). Jesus then stated plainly that we must not esteem what the world highly esteems. “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). If we are like God, then what is highly esteemed among men will be abomination to us also. He directs the new man not to love the world. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17). He directs the new man: “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:1-2). The Christians who were faithful to their Creator were those who did not “mind earthly things” (Phil. 3:19).
The power of God is found in our hearts. He shows us that our mouths speak “out of the abundance of the heart” (Matt. 12:34). Look at the power of the heart! Most of us have much evil in our hearts. The heart is the source of the evil and good that we do. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:18, 19). The evil abides in the heart and is manifested when the temptation arises. It is our responsibility to remove all of this evil out of our hearts. He command us to: “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8).
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth (Col. 3:5, 8).
It is also our responsibility to renew the new man we put on in baptism:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (Col. 3:10-12).
We have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27) which is our ‘new man.’ The ways he commands us to put on (above) are all part of the love of Christ, which is growing in his image. If all of the evil is taken out of our hearts and the love of Christ is put into our hearts, our mouths will speak from the abundance of hearts like Christ’s heart. Our actions will naturally follow our tongues, for the tongue is the bridle or rudder for the whole body (James 3:3-5). There is great power if the perfect love is in the heart. Those with the perfect love do not err in word (James 3:2). His heart controls his tongue because his heart has been formed with all of the parts of Christ’s love. That same man is “. . . able also to bridle the whole body also” (James 3:2). When would we not obey God if our hearts are full of Jesus love and we are able to bridle the whole body? If we are unfaithful in the least, we will be faithful in much (Luke 16:10-12). Why? If our heart is faithful, whether we have little or much, we will be faithful. God’s power in our hearts is found in the love of Christ!
Consider two examples of the power of a good heart. God testifies to David’s heart – “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will” (Acts 13:33). David’s heart was formed and thus he was able to fulfill all of God’s will. God inspired David to write: “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Psa. 101:2). David would have to have a complete heart because he was a man after God’s own heart–and God’s heart is surely complete! We need to remember that David was not born with a complete heart. No doubt this Psalm was written toward the end of his life. After David died, God gave him a tremendous testimony concerning the power of his heart:
Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite (1 King 15:5).
With the one exception, David did what was right and did not turn aside from anything God commanded him all the days of his life (1 Kings 15:5). Who could claim that sort of record but Christ himself! Some scorn David because of the horrible sin he had, but do they have a record where they have not turned aside from any command all the days of their lives except for one lapse? There are different degrees of temptation. We have the promise now that we will not be tempted above what we are able. David did not have that promise. Peter was sifted like wheat, and Jesus knew he would fall (Luke 22:31). The promise not to be tempted above what we are able was written after Peter was sifted like wheat. How strong was David’s temptation? We will not know until Judgment Day. Others claim that God’s testimony is false, and that David did sin more than in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Keep in mind the statement: David did not turn aside from “any thing that he commanded him.” When David counted the people, his heart smote him. This was not something God had commanded him to do or not to do. There was no law about counting or not counting the people in the Old Law, which David was under. Sin is transgression of law. If there is no law, sin is not imputed (Rom. 5:13). We must walk by faith. God made the statement above, and we need to trust God enough to believe it. David has a marvelous record, because he has a marvelous heart after God’s own heart.
The Lord testifies: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). This is a marvelous statement. The phrase in this scripture, “If any man,” would include Job. God testified that Job was a perfect man, not once but three times, and one of those was to the Devil himself (Job 1:8). If it were not true, Satan would have contradicted God. But he did not. Satan knew that Job was perfect. We would expect Job not to offend in word according to the definition in James 3:2. God gives Job this very testimony: “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). Even after Satan removed all of his possessions and flooded him with boils, God testifies: “In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10). Keep in mind that God said that “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. . .” (James 3:2). Some, like Job’s friends, would accuse Job of sinning, but there was no proof except their allegations. In the end, Elihu was angry with the three friends because they could not answer Job (Job 32:1-3). The worst that Job did (or came close to doing) was to condemn God and dis-annul his judgment (Job 40:8). Sin is transgression of God’s law. Job lived long before the Old Testament law, and even if he were under the law, there is no such command not to dis-annul God’s judgment. God did not accuse Job, but asked him if that were what he was doing (Job 40:8). In the end, God himself justified Job:
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job (Job 42:7-8).
Truly David and Job are examples of the power of a good heart.
Look at the hope of glory! The hope of glory is to have the eternal marvelous and beautiful love of Christ in our own hearts. (Col. 1:26, 27)! Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8). God is love. God is eternal. His love is eternal. What is unseen is eternal. If we grow in that love, we grow in what is unseen and thus in was is eternal (1 Cor. 4:18). If we do not grow in that love, but keep the hatred and/or evil we have in our hearts, those unseen things will also last eternally. If we grow in the heart of Christ, we will have that love forever and ever. If we inherit the new body and a new mansion in heaven, and have the heart of Satan, what can God expect? “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). God can expect us to speak evil from the abundance of an evil heart. Heaven will not be heaven if we arrive there with an evil heart. There is no glory to having an evil heart or even an empty heart. If we are filled with the heart of Christ we will surely be faithful as Christ was faithful (He 3:1,2). It is no wonder that “perfect love” gives boldness on the day of judgment and casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). The heart of Christ is truly the hope of glory (Col. 1:26, 27). There is a way to overcome the world! There is a way to obey all the commands of God.
Love is not merely one entity but is made up of many different parts. There are many different kinds of love. Bible love is by no means the same as the world’s love. “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). God is surely not the same as the world! God’s love is comprised of many different parts. He lists several of these parts in what has been called the ‘love chapter’ (1 Cor. 13).
Love 1) “suffereth long, and 2) is kind; charity 3) envieth not; charity 4) vaunteth not itself, 5) is not puffed up, 6) Doth not behave itself unseemly, 7) seeketh not her own, 8) is not easily provoked, 9) thinketh no evil; 10) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but 11) rejoiceth in the truth;” (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
Someone may counter that these qualities are mostly negative. Though many of these parts are negative, we can understand that for every negative there is generally a corresponding positive. if love does not vaunt itself, it must be humble. If it does not behave itself ‘unseemly,’ it must behave itself ‘seemly.’ If love does not seek her own, then it must seek other’s good, etc. There are many other parts of God’s love which are not listed in 1 Corinthians 13. Every good part of God is a part of his love and the love of Christ, who is “. . .the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb. 1:3). If we grow in Christ’s love we are growing in the love of God.
If our love lacks kindness, longsuffering, humility, or any other part, it is not the complete (perfect) love of Christ. We need to acquire each part to be “in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We grow into that complete love by keeping his commandments – which is the third part of the great commission – “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). We note what happens when someone has completely fulfilled the third part of the Great Commission. He declares: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” (I John 2:5). Full obedience to the great commission ends in forming the perfect love of God in the disciple’s heart. Willing obedience to even one of the commandments of God, will give us a part of the love of Christ. Willingly obeying all of his commands will surely perfect (complete) all of the parts of Christ’s love in us. This is in line with the definition of love that Jesus gave the apostles just before his crucifixion.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. (John 14:21-24)
Loving God with some of our heart, soul and mind, means obeying some of his commandments. Obeying the greatest command to “. . .love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:37), is to keep all of his commandments. Obedience to all of the commands will produce the complete love in our hearts (1 John 2:5). This is identical to John’s definition in the last chapter of first John.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (1 Jn 5:2-3).
Thus, if we obey the first part of the great commission, we will make disciples whose aim and goal is to be like their master by obeying all things whatsoever Christ commands (Matt. 28:19, 20).
The great commission leads us to the mark God has set out for us – if we obey it. The method that short-circuits the great commission saying “Go, teach (first principles), baptize, and then simply teach (to teach them to teach the first principles to others)” totally misses the mark. Teaching them to teach the first principles to others is certainly a part of the command, but it is only one part of the command. Jesus said “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. . .” (Matt. 28:20). If we teach ‘all things,’ we will teach the mark which God sets before each child of his. What is the mark to which we are called to run? Unless we know the mark (Phil. 3:14), how can we know the pathway that leads to the mark? Philip was very wise when he asked this of Christ: “We know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” (John 14:4, 5). He did not know the mark nor did he know the pathway to reach that mark and knew it. Jesus said “. . .no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). He was speaking of going to be with his Father in heaven. The way to go to the Father is to follow in the steps of Christ and reach the mark which he reached. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus knew the mark and knew the way to get to the mark. He is the author and finisher of our race. He made it, and he ran it ahead of us (Heb. 12:1-3). He did not run the race so we do not have to run it. He ran it so that we would have an example to follow as we run (1 Pet. 2:21). We need to follow him and run to the mark to which he ran.
The Lord in working all things together for good for his purpose (goal, mark). What is this purpose? Notice the two qualifications required before he will work all things together for good for us. Those who qualify, 1) love him, and 2) are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). He calls men so they will fulfill his purpose. He tells us clearly in the next verse what he calls men to be (Rom. 8:29). He calls men to “be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:30). This is the same purpose, aim, goal of a disciple. “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matt. 10:25). When the disciple is perfect, he is like his master (Luke 6:40). We can see that the word ‘perfect’ in these verses is not used as the world commonly uses it today. We need to explore this scriptural word ‘perfection’ as it is used in the scriptures. What is New Testament perfection?