Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Not Too Hard. Sure.

Here I am at Disneyland. No, really, I am at Disneyland. Here for the week. One never outgrows Disneyland, don't let anyone convince you otherwise. I am taking a vacation from life, but this year I'm not taking a vacation from God. I'm going to maintain my usual evening devotion times as much as I can, by going away from family to the balcony of the Grand Californian Hotel lobby and read my Bible and write in this here blog kinda like a journal. Let's hope I discipline myself to do it as many nights as I can.

I've been reading in Deuteronomy for the last month or so, and it has been interesting. Of all the books in the Pentateuch, it is the book that features more life-applicable content than the other books, especially Leviticus. Deuteronomy is Moses basically preaching three sermons about the Law that was given by God to the nation of Israel. He restates some of it and adds a little extra to it. His main emphasis is exhorting Israel to keep the commandments given by God.

The commandments given in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) are, in fact, not that overly difficult or hard to fathom. Don't sleep with a woman who isn't your wife. Don't murder anyone. Don't participate in pagan rituals or practices. Don't have sex with animals (Yes, for some reason, that has been a problem for certain folks). Things that aren't difficult for a person to really do. There is a bulk of the Law centered around proper worship practice in the tabernacle/temple and which sacrifices to give when and how. Most things, if you follow the prescribed directions, you won't have that much of a problem.

Now, obviously, we as modern-day Christians do not have to follow this Law to the letter. We don't have to offer sacrifices. We can charge interest on loans. We can eat bacon (Hallelujah). But while the letter of the Law isn't fully applicable, the spirit of the Law is still very much applicable. Why? Because this particular Law of Moses given to Israel is a special application of what I refer to as the "True Law of God." God, in his righteousness, has a standard. For every application, there is right and wrong. God gave a certain application of this Law to Israel, but the truly righteous person follows the True Law of God that supersedes the Mosaic Law and applies to everyone.

The main difference is that we as Christians are covered by Jesus' sacrifice if we happen to goof up (which happens more often than we wish it did). So we can endeavor to attain to the standards of the True Law of God without being hindered by the times we fail it. Remember, God wants us to succeed, and so He has made a way for us to be able to succeed, even in our fallen human state.

That being said, Moses states in Deuteronomy 30:11 that ",,,what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." So then how are we "all sinners" if attaining to the Law is so un-difficult?

Think about it: each of the laws given in the Pentateuch is not so difficult that we can't do them. We have no excuse. Except that doing all the laws becomes a little bit daunting. Even so, each of us has the complete human ability to fulfill the Law to the letter. It is not so out of reach. We are more than able.

But are we capable? No. We may have every ability to follow the Law, but we each have made the choice not to. We all make mistakes, and none of those are outside of our control. Our sinful nature influences us in such a way that we don't choose to make the right decision or take the right actions. So, in other words, our fallenness isn't due to a lack of ability; it's due to us choosing to sin.

Thanks be to God that He has sent Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins, completely wiping away every stain we ever had or will have. We are saved from our own depravity and the deserved punishment, as long as we choose to follow Jesus. Just like our condemnation is due to a choice, our salvation from that condemnation is also due to a choice. Therefore, let us choose to make every effort everyday to seek righteousness and holiness in our every thought and action. We will make mistakes, but it shouldn't be a big deal in the light of our constant pursuit of the righteousness that God gave His Son so we could actually seek to attain without hindrance. God wants us to succeed.

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