“This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commandments.”
We can express verbal sympathy with the sentiments of Scripture and verbalise our love for God, but without obedience it is all worthless. We can do all good deeds and make huge sacrifices to the Lord and His work, but without the obedience to the holy commandments, it is all just human good works. To know God is to be obedient to Him. Without this obedience we are not respecting His person or taking seriously what He is saying to us in the Word of God.
The Ten Commandments stand strong over the entire human race and are applicable to all, in every culture and generation. We ignore then at our peril, for they are the way to holy living and to please the Lord. We cannot keep them and do not keep them, but there is forgiveness for the sinner as we stand in the place of confession. Still we strive to keep the commandments and live a pleasing life to God.
To know God is to revere all that He is and to stand in reverence and awe at all His Word. We start at the commandments and then follow the instructions for holy living that we also receive in the New Testament. It is not legalism to obey the Lord, but we express our faith and desire for godliness as we live in the light of His desires for us. How can we possible say we love God, or know Him, and not understand what he wants us to do and how He wants us to live. We are justified by grace alone through faith, but our faith is seen in our good works towards the Lord and our desire to please Him through our obedience to His statutes.
“…that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
We please the Lord as we live in a worthy manner in His will and decrees and as we walk in them, we continue to grow and know the Lord and His person increasingly. This is the assurance of our Christian faith, that we love the Lord enough to know Him and know what He requires from us and to obey His Word. As we walk close to Him we will produce the fruit of righteousness which He requires from his people, and not be sidetracked into sentimental feelings and futile thinking about the Lord.
The commands of the Lord become more and more important to us as we grow in grace and know the Lord more closely. We will seek not to offend Him and to bring glory to His name through our godly living and earnest seeking the path of obedience and faith. This is what pleases God, not our vaunted sacrifices and exalted opinions over other people. The Lord seeks the spiritual fruit of the Holy Spirit through the life of faith. There is no other assurance that we have faith other than this manifestation. Obedience to the commandments of the Lord, is walking this world as Jesus walked and overcame all temptation and evil for our sake. We model ourselves on Him.