Genuine good Christian life may be led only by those who
have faith in Christ and who strive to live by this faith; that is, those who
by their good works fulfill the will of God. Good works are an expression of
our love, and love is the foundation of all Christian life. God is love; and he
that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him (John ). For God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life (John ). Thus
God by this act revealed His love to mankind.
Love which is not accompanied by good works is not
true love, but is merely lip service. That is why the Word of God says, Faith
without works is dead (James ). The
Lord Jesus Christ Himself said, Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21). For we are his
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before
ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. ).
Furthermore we have received from God special
means for discerning good deeds from evil. The means are the internal law of God,
or conscience, and the external law of God, or the His commandments of God.
The word conscience denotes the internal,
spiritual strength of a man, or the manifestation of the soul of a man. The
conscience, as the internal law of God ("voice of God"), is present
in every person.
The conscience is the internal voice which tells
us what is good and what is evil, what is proper and what is improper, what is
righteous and what is not. The voice of the conscience obligates us to do good
and to shun evil. For every thing good the conscience rewards us with internal
peace and calm. For everything wrong, incorrect, improper, or evil, the
conscience judges and punishes so that a person acting against the conscience
feels himself in moral discord, tormented by pangs of conscience.
But the conscience, as the spiritual strength of a
man, requires development and improvement along with the other spiritual
faculties of a man, namely, with his mind, heart, and will. The mind, heart,
and will of man have become darkened from the time of Adam and Eve. From that
time the voice of conscience has been shown to be weak and insufficient as a
manifestation of spiritual strength. If man does not develop spiritual strength
in himself, then the internal voice of conscience in man falls asleep by
degrees and dies, as in a "man without conscience."
From this it is clear that the internal law of
conscience alone is not enough for man. Even in Paradise God revealed His will
to the first people. It follows that in order to exist in an innocent,
righteous state, it is necessary for a man to have the external law from God.
Even more so is it needed as a result of the fall from Grace.
In order that man would always remain in
"fear of his conscience," the Lord God gave us the external law, the
commandments of God.
This law was given in its simplest form in Old
Testament times, when Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai. The most important
Ten Commandments were written on two stone tablets. These commandments were
made more profound and lofty in the Saviourís Sermon on the Mount, in His nine
points known as the Beatitudes. But the Lord also confirmed that the Old
Testament Ten Commandments were to be known and fulfilled.
The Saviour said, Think not that I am come to
destroy the Law, or the prophets: lam not come to destroy but to fulfill (Matt.
When a young man asked, Good Master, what good
thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? ó the Lord answered right away,
// thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt. -17).
However, the Lord taught that these commandments,
according to His interpretation, must be kept to a high degree of perfection.
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ suggests that believers should not only shun
transgression of the Law, but should not even think about it or desire it, thus
requiring from them a more clean heart.