Thursday, February 26, 2009

Choosing this day...

As promised yesterday, there are many potential nuggets to mine in Deuteronomy 11 through 14. Moses continued in these chapters to direct and instruct God's children, warning them repeatedly that they were not to have any other god's or idols and were to destroy all idolatrous implements as they went into the promised land.

In chapter 11, this pronouncement is made:

26 “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.

At this time in history, God's children lived in covenant relationship with him in a different way than we do today. The "old" covenant was rule and law based and required them to make a choice that would result in whether they were blessed or cursed.

When Jesus died, taking upon himself the punishment that we deserve for our sins, he abolished the old covenant and ushered in the new covenant era that we enjoy today if we have confessed Him as Lord of our lives.

We do not have to keep the law perfectly, He did that for us. We do not have to fear the curse of eternal separation from God, instead, we are the beneficiaries of His grace and blessing. I am reminded of Paul's words to the Galatians who had been deceived though, because like them, we are not immune to the potentially deceptive tactics of the enemy --here are his words from chapter 3:

1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

Skipping down a few verses, he continues:

13 But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.

How fortunate we are that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have received the greatest blessing of God, forgiveness and fellowship through the One who took upon Himself our curse. And although it is true that we do not have to keep the law to the letter in order to experience God's gracious salvation, Paul warns that it is a serious mistake to take His grace for granted. Scripture teaches that we are to strive for Christ-like perfection, all the while remembering that our salvation is not up to us or our best efforts. The good that we do and the obedience that we demonstrate is instead simply a result of our love for The Lord.

Thank you Father that you made a way for me to receive your blessing when Jesus took my sins upon himself. I recognize that this is your most generous gift and ask that you forgive me for taking your great mercy for granted. I choose this day to praise you for your blessing and I am so grateful that you graciously extend the offer to all who will believe by faith that there is salvation in Jesus alone.

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