Matthew 28:20 “…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
No part of God’s revelation comes to us on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis. God has not set Christianity up like a cafeteria, where we have the choice to take only what suits our tastes. It is more like a carefully planned, home-cooked meal. It is intended especially for our spiritual nutrition, not for our sensory pleasure. Quite often, the less tasty portions of God’s word are the most important for us. Like regular food, much of God’s word proves to be an acquired taste.
That is why Jesus adds the word “everything” to his commission to go and make disciples. Of course, he expects us to teach the entirety of his gospel promises as well as his law’s commands. Of the two, the gospel is even more urgent for our faith and life. Nothing fortifies us more. But this has already been alluded to with his words about baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Now he reminds us that living as his disciples means walking in his commands. A changed life naturally flows from a disciple’s faith. God’s grace and forgiveness don’t cancel good works out of our lives because we don’t need them to get to heaven. It inspires them! It is the grace of God that brings salvation, Paul writes Titus, that “teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age” (2:11-12).
And in order that all may know what a godly life looks like, Jesus includes “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” as he sends us to win the world to faith in him. We go with his word, and that word changes lives as we go.