Some folks feel that one can never know if he is living according to New Testament law as they can and therefore cannot know for sure if they will be saved in eternity.
This is an understandable view, however, one can know for sure. If we follow the teachings and examples set by Jesus and his inspired writers. First however, we have to remember and recognize that Jesus did not live under the perfect law of liberty which is the pattern for Christians to follow. He lived and died under the Old Testament Law of Moses. And he did so successfully, without sinning once. He left rules and examples carried out by his apostles and early converts to his law.
Jesus did not even have to offer sacrifices of bulls and goats to secure forgiveness of sins...because he had none. But the other practises under the Jewish law, he kept perfectly. Now let us look at things he prescribed in his law, most of which were present in the Old Testament law but were by-passed by the many traditions of the Jews. He chastised the scribes and Pharisees for their placing their traditions over that of the law. You will find most of that upbraiding being done in his exceptional 'sermon on the mount', found in the book of Matthew, chapters 5, 6, 7.
So, how can we live as he did, since we have sinned and he did not? The answer is that we obey those things which are ours to obey as he did, and we can read his view on that:
"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:10 KJV)
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." (John 6:38 KJV)
One might well ask then, if he never sinned, why then was he baptized? This is a question simply answered. His own answer to John the Baptist, was: "And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." (Matthew 3:15 KJV)
John the Baptist was sent to be the forerunner of Jesus, to announce his coming and to introduce baptism to the people. He preached it strongly and emphasized that his message was directly from God. So you see his urging them to be baptized was a commandment from God, not just from John. And when Jesus told him above that, "it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness", he was obeying a commandment from God the Father. He had no sins to repent of but yet, he obeyed the command regardless. And many today still refuse to obey the commands and the examples throughout the New Testament.
Many have told this writer that they believe one should be baptized but they do not believe it is necessary. Baptism was not necessary for Jesus, yet he obeyed the command anyway. There is much difference in the thoughts of man and the thoughts of God. The only reason it was not necessary for him was that he had no sin to be forgiven. All men do have such.
Jesus humbled himself before men. If ever a man had reason to feel exalted, it was Jesus, yet he washed his apostles feet to show them how they should be humble. Read this:
"So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." (John 13:12-17)
Jesus loves his people and we are to love him, the Father and our brethren in Christ. Reread the passage listed above from John 15:10.
The New Testament is filled with instructions for man from God either through Jesus himsself or the apostles and other inspired writings. We ought to spend all the time we can learning just what those instructions are. Here is a passage which Jesus gave to his apostles and is recorded by Luke the Gentile associate of Paul, read it carefully and you will see the heart of Jesus and the heart he expects of us!
"Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:1-10 KJV)
We hear many advise others to follow in the steps of Jesus. Wonderful thought, but how many strive to do so? Even from the ones who advise others to do so. If we follow in his steps, we will do no sin and we all know that none have succeeded in doing that. But we are to strive for such and strive earnestly. He will know who is trying.
I heard a preacher say once, concerning the fact that God knows our every thought and intent...then he added that this should fill our hearts with terror! Here this writer disagrees with the preacher. It should fill our hearts with humble thanksgiving, to know that God knows our minds and thoughts completely. Therein, we can know that we are safe in His care as long as our intent is to follow Jesus as closely as is humanly possible.
And remember, 'no one can obey God if they don't know what He says'. Study to shew thyself approved unto God.
This writer has recently finished a fourteen lesson series on Jesus’ famous ‘Sermon on the mount.’ All who wish to know more of his teachings, begin with the first five listed on the page of this article. Links to further ones are found on those pages.