April 11, 2014
Deuteronomy 30:14, 15, 19, 20
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
A friend who is a strong Christian lady works in the regional headquarters of a liberal Christian denomination. She had a minister stand at her desk and tell her, “I don’t believe a loving God would send anyone to hell!” She looked at him and asked, “What Bible do you read?!” The Bible plainly speaks of hell – a place of eternal suffering, described in Revelation 21:8 as “…the lake which burns with fire and brimstone [sulfur] which is the second death.” It certainly is not a place to which anyone would want to go! It is not even created for man, for in Matthew 25:41 Jesus said it is “…prepared for the devil and his angels….” But it stands to reason, if someone chooses to follow Satan in this life, he or she will join him in torment throughout eternity!
Herein lies the premise for this blog: God does not send anyone to hell. We choose the path that takes us there! And God pleads with us to turn from that path of sin and destruction, and turn unto Him – unto life and blessing! Here is His plea to the Jewish people just before they entered the Promised Land of Canaan – Deuteronomy 30:14 and 15, 19 and 20. It certainly can illustrate Jesus plea to us today:
…the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may
do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil….I call
heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you
life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and
your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, and that
you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life
and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the
LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.
This may be seen as the summation of what is called ‘The Palestinian Covenant’. If the Jews put their faith in Jehovah God, if they followed His leading and obeyed His commands, they would be richly blessed. If they disobeyed in unbelief, they would lose the blessing of land, national identity, and material abundance. But the point is, God gave them a choice! Verse 19: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live….” He didn’t force them to make their choice, but He sure was rooting for them to choose God and good!!!
One of the most precious gifts God has given us as human beings is freedom of will – the right to choose and make our own decisions. And He will not violate that free will! He will allow us to choose “…death and evil…and cursing…” (verses 15 and 19) if that is what we insist we want. But who would want “…death and evil…and cursing…?” If people really understood the implications of their choices, they would flee sin and hell, and run to the open arms of the Lord Jesus Christ! The problem is that “…they are without excuse…for God has shown…to them…His eternal power and Godhead…[and His] wrath…revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness…” (Romans 1:18 through 20). People – in one way or another – choose to turn away from God and unto eternal destruction!
How has the Lord set before us today “…life and good…and blessing…” (verses 15 and 19)? Jesus Christ – Son of God, God the Son – came from heaven’s throne to earth to live the perfect life before the Father that we could never live. He never sinned once! Then He voluntarily offered Himself to die in our place – the cruel death upon the cross that we deserved. He became both sin and sinner before God. And the Father poured out His eternal wrath upon the Son – the wrath that so rightly belonged on us! Jesus fully paid the price for sin, to redeem us from hell and give us eternal life. And the Father’s seal of acceptance upon the Son’s sacrifice was when Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again! And He has not only purchased for us eternal life in heaven someday, He offers us abundant life now! We can – even now, in this life – experience the fruit of the Holy Spirit abounding in our lives: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22 and 23 – NIV).
Now, what are you going to do about it? If you are not a Christian, run to Jesus! Confess your sins to Him and accept Him as your Savior! He Himself said in John 6:37: “…the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” And if you are already a Christian, then determine to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life every day! For it is in obedience to Him that we find the freedom of the Holy Spirit and His fruit manifested abundantly in our lives.
He has “…set before you today life and good, death and evil..life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” (verses 15 and 19).