Like Breathing

Hear, O Israel
Deuteronomy 6:4 NIV

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

At the time this was written, who was the Israel being referred to? They were the Jews, who were God’s chosen people at that time in history.

To apply this to today, who would this be talking to? It is not the physical nation of Israel. It is not the Jews. It is those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. We are the Israel of God today. We alone are God’s chosen people. We are the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, the Jerusalem that is from above. We alone are the children of the Promise God gave to Abraham. We alone are the children of Abraham, not those who are merely physical descendants of Abraham.

And, this is not my opinion, and it is not some replacement theology, either, and I am not going to debate this, either. It is what the Word of God teaches. Those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, who deny him, are antichrist. Those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, in fact, don’t believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, because they don’t believe in God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit – three persons in one God, the one and only true God.

Through Jesus Christ’s death on a cross, he destroyed the barrier that stood between Jew and Gentile and he made them one person in Christ. So, we are no longer divided Jew and Gentile. Now we are Christian or non-Christian. And, all Jews who don’t believe in Jesus are no different from their Arab neighbors who don’t believe in Jesus. They are the same to God, for they are still in slavery to their sin. Only we are from the free woman.

[See: Rom. 9:6b-8; Gal. 3:10-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22]

And, I am telling you this because there are many people out there who are Judaizers today who are trying to persuade Christians to adopt some of the ways of the Jews, or to raise the Jews up to some superior status with God, almost as though they are to be worshiped. They are convincing many that adopting some Jewish ways will draw them closer to God. But, the Jews, as a nation, don’t worship the God of Christians. They have their own god.

And, they are pushing Christians to support them and to believe they are still God’s chosen people, but they aren’t, unless they believe in Jesus. They are not the persecuted ones. Satan is not against the Jews. He is against true followers of Jesus Christ, which is why we are the persecuted ones.

So, don’t get caught up in this movement that is trying to reintroduce what the Judaizers of Paul’s day did, which is what he is addressing in most of these scriptures here. For, that is what was happening then, which is happening now, too. We don’t need to be like the Jews. We need to be like Jesus!!

With All Your Heart
Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

So, we, the Israel of God, the Children of Promise, are to love God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – with all our heart, soul and strength.

And, this is not a blah, blah, blah. This is not something we can just read over and say, “Fine.” This is not something to take lightly or glibly. We need to examine what this means, and we need to take it to heart, and then we need to apply it to our walks of faith in Christ on a daily basis.

For one, to love God, scriptures teach, is to obey God. If we don’t obey God and his commandments (New Testament), we don’t love him, we don’t know him, he doesn’t know us, and we don’t have eternal life with God (Jn. 8:51; Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 5:3; 2 Jn. 1:6).

So, this means we need to obey God with all our heart, soul and strength. So, this means that we need to obey God with every fiber of our being 24 hours a day 7 days a week in every situation, and in every circumstance. We don’t get an out. There are no excuses for disobedience. We don’t get to pick and choose what or what not we will obey. We need to obey it all.

So, does this mean that we have to live in sinless perfection? No! Scripture teaches us that we have to walk (in practice, in habit) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and that we daily die to sin. But, lack of perfection should never be used as an excuse for continuing to make sin our practice (See: 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.)

Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He didn’t die just to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us out of our slavery to sin and to empower us to walk in his holiness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23).

These Commandments
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

So, what commandments are we required to obey today? From my study of the New Testament scriptures, it appears to me that we have to obey all the ten commandments, with the exception of one. We don’t have to follow the Jewish Sabbath, for now our salvation is our Sabbath rest. Now we have Jesus living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and we are the temple of God, so we can worship God any day, anytime, anywhere.

But, the New Testament actually expands on the description of these commandments with much more detail than we have written down for us in the Ten Commandments. And, Jesus summarized God’s commandments in two, the first being to love God with our whole heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

But, this word “love” is not based in feelings or in the flesh of man. This word is “agape” love, which means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, honest, trustworthy, kind, moral, and upright. So, this means we love others as we love ourselves with a pure love that is honest, trustworthy, faithful and kind, etc. So, if we love with this love, we won’t lie to, cheat on, commit adultery against, steal from or slander our neighbors, which is all people. And, we won’t do this to God, either.

So, just like we are to love and obey God fully (see previous section), his commandments are to be fully entrenched in every aspect of our lives. Tying them as symbols on our hands, though, is not just something physical. It is binding them to our deeds, our conduct, and our attitudes. And, binding them on our foreheads is also not just something physical, but it has to do with them being implanted in our minds via the study of God’s Word and via the practice of God’s Word in our daily lives.

And impressing them on our children is not just reading them to them or lecturing them in them, but it is living them before our children so that they can see the reality of them in our lives. And, then we need to also read them and teach them to our children in all practicality to their daily lives.

And, lastly, the Word of God should be so much a part of our lives that we just naturally talk about what God’s Word teaches us at home, or out and about going places, and when we get up in the morning, and throughout the day, and when we go to bed at night. God’s Word should be central to everything we do in this life, and we should never be ashamed of it, either. But, we should live it always, like breathing in and breathing out.

Nearer, Still Nearer

Lyrics and Music by Lelia N. Morris, pub. 1898

Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior—so precious Thou art!
Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast;
Shelter me safe in that “haven of rest.”

Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an off’ring to Jesus, my King;
Only my sinful, now contrite heart,
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.

Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine!
Sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,
All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride,
Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.

Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last,
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages ever to be
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee!

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3 thoughts on “Like Breathing

  1. Thank you for all the insight. I have wondered a lot about the subject of the “chosen people” So much is written about the Jewish people in the Bible, but they seemed to be so “ungrateful” or “stubborn” maybe? Of course all people are, but seemed to me the chosen should have been different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, God’s chosen people of the Old Covenant were often very ungrateful and stubborn, as are many today. And, yes, they should have been different. God had a standard of conduct for them then as he has for us today, and fundamentally it is still the same. He says to leave our lifestyles of sin behind and to follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. It was the consistent message of the prophets of old, and it is still God’s consistent message to us all throughout the New Testament.

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