Monday, April 25, 2011

Deuternonomy 11:26-28 NASB

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse:  the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God...and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today..."

Some like to speak of the "unconditional love" of God as if it overlooked sin and secured a way of salvation no matter the character and conduct of the person. To these I would say, take a good look of the book of Deuteronomy.  Throughout this book, the blessings of God for the children of Israel are always conditional. Though it is evident that God's greatest desire is to bless His people, He has no room for a heart that is not given completely to Him, in word, thought and deed.  In Deuteronomy, with the children of Israel, the "curses" of God come certainly and severely on those who don't walk in His ways with all their heart.  We have become conditioned, through the preaching and Christian literature of the day, to believe that somehow "works" and "grace" are almost mutually exclusive.  We, of course, know we aren't saved by works, but the problem we face today is that we've been told that "forgiveness is all that matters." Untold numbers have been duped into finding comfort under this blanket, when the fruit is absent, retarded or rotten. There is no denying that the forgiveness of God is quickly available and gladly applied when sought with deep humility, contrition and repentance, but it is not cheap grace nor is it without divine expectations. Repentance itself speaks of a change of mind or a change of direction.  The whole tenor of God's grace has the clarion call of transformation in it, with words like redemption (deliverance), regeneration (new life), renewal (make new), refinement (purify).  This is a great grace because it transforms the heart and life.  This is a great blessing because it comes from the heart of a God who knows the difference and makes a difference, giving deep meaning and significance to the whole idea of God's blessing on a person's life.  This has nothing to do with earning salvation, but has everything to do with giving evidence of salvation.  Our world, right where we live, walk and talk, needs to see, hear and feel this evidence again.  Give them a taste of the fruit and let them see that it is good.

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