The following is a passage of scripture from the Old Covenant Relationship God had with his people Israel, of that time. Not all of it applies to us today, but much of it does. So, we can still learn from it, and we can glean the New Testament parallels from this passage of scripture, too. For…
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV).
Fear the Lord God
Deuteronomy 6:13-19 NIV
“Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you did at Massah. Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors, thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the Lord said.”
To fear the Lord our God is to treat him with honor, respect, value, submission and obedience to his commands. It is to not take him and his word lightly. It is not to think we can still do whatever we want because we are now under grace. It is to honor him with our conduct, our speech, our attitudes, and in our thinking and believing, too.
We are to serve him only. We are not to serve the gods of this world. We are not to chase after the things of this world – the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. They are not to be our gods. Our passions, our desires, our gifts, talents, our time, and our thinking, etc. should all be given over to God to serve him and his heavenly kingdom.
Contrary to popular opinion, our God still is a jealous God. He is not okay with us living however we want, to please our sinful flesh, now that we are under his grace, if we are truly under his grace. He saved us and he called us to be a holy people, set apart (unlike, different) from the world and unto him, to live godly lives which are pleasing to him. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co. 5:15).
Many who call themselves Christians today are definitely putting the Lord to the test by living in open rebellion against him, thinking that they can mouth a profession of faith in him, but that they can still remain in their sinful practices unhindered, and without guilt, while calling that “grace.”
But, that is not grace, for it still leaves them in bondage to sin, living to please the flesh, and Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died to put sin to death in our lives, not to cover over it in the sense that we can continue in it and that it no longer matters to God. It still matters to God what we do! He says we must walk in obedience to him if we want to have eternal life with him (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 2:6-8; Gal. 6:7-8).
We still have to obey the commandments of the Lord if we want to have eternal life with God. We don’t have to obey all the Old Covenant laws and regulations, but we are not free from having to obey God’s moral laws. Whatever is repeated for us in the New Covenant we must still obey. And, in fact, the Ten Commandments have been explained in quite detail in the New Testament. The only one not repeated in the New Testament is the one about keeping the Jewish Sabbath. We are no longer under that one.
We Were Once Slaves
Deuteronomy 6:20-23 NIV
“In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?’ tell him: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors.'”
Amen! We were ONCE slaves to sin. That means it should be past, history. We should no longer be walking in sin, in the darkness, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, committing adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, and hating others.
For, the meaning of God’s commandments to us, his church, is the same. We were once enslaved to sin, but now, by God’s grace, the Lord brought us out of slavery to sin. He delivered us from our enemy Satan and the power he once held over our lives. And, he gave us new lives in him now to be lived to his righteousness, in his power and strength at work within us.
It is like doing a 180 degree turn. We were once going the way of the flesh, living to please ourselves, doing whatever our sinful hearts desired. But, then the Lord rescued us, and he turned us around so that we would now walk (in conduct, in practice) in the opposite direction, i.e. we were going left, and now we are going right (the way of righteousness and holiness).
This is what it means to be SAVED! We aren’t saved from our sins if all we have is forgiveness of sins, but we are still walking in sin. How is that deliverance? It isn’t! Just like he delivered the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and he took them a different direction, toward their Promised Land, he removes us from our slavery to sin, and he takes us toward our Promised Land, which is our eternal life with him in heaven.
And, while we are on the way towards heaven, he guides us, he leads us, he watches over us, he instructs us in his ways, he rebukes and chastises us, he prunes and disciplines us, and he strengthens, empowers and encourages us in our walks of faith with him so that we can remain in freedom from slavery to sin and not return to where we were before.
There are many parallels between the story of the deliverance of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to our deliverance from our bondage to sin. And, the New Testament makes these parallels for us, in particular in the book of Hebrews.
Commanded to Obey
Deuteronomy 6:24-25 NIV
“The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”
Amen! And, this applies to us today, because it is taught for us again in the New Testament. It is New Covenant teaching, too. We have to obey all the commands of God given to us under the New Covenant, which includes the teachings of Jesus (Matthew to John) and the teachings of the New Testament apostles (all the books from Acts to Revelation).
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:11-14 NIV).
Words and music by Jack P. Scholfield, 1911
I’ve found a Friend, who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.
He saves me from every sin and harm,
Secures my soul each day;
I’m leaning strong on His mighty arm;
I know He’ll guide me all the way.
When poor and needy and all alone,
In love He said to me,
“Come unto Me and I’ll lead you home,
To live with Me eternally.”
Saved by His pow’r divine,
Saved to new life sublime!
Life now is sweet and my joy is complete,
For I’m saved, saved, saved!
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