This passage of Scripture comes from the Old Testament and was written to the Jewish nation who were under the Old Covenant Relationship with God. Yet, it parallels what is taught in the New Testament to true spiritual Israel today under the New Covenant Relationship we have with God/Christ.
And let me state here that biblical Israel today is not the Jewish nation, but it is only those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. We are the children of promise. Anyone who does not believe in Jesus, according to Scripture, does not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and is not God’s chosen, and is in fact the antichrist.
[Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22]
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 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.”
Jesus said that if we love him, we will be keeping his commandments and he and the Father will love us and they will make their home with us (Jn 14:15-24). And John said that the way we know that we have come to know Christ is if we are keeping (in practice) his commandments (1 Jn 2:3-6).
Paul taught that we are slaves to the one we are obeying – either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness which then ends in eternal life with God (Rom 6:16-23). And the writer of Hebrews said that Jesus became the source of eternal salvation for all who are obeying him (Heb 5:9).
Also, we have been chosen of God for obedience to Christ (1 Pet 1:2). Those who are obeying the Lord’s commands live in him and he in them (1 Jn 3:24). And love for God is to be obeying his commands (under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant) (1 Jn 5:3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25).
Going along with that, Jesus said that if we would come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and self) and follow him. And following him is obeying him (Lu 9:23-26). And Paul said that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct), not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:1-17).
So, what the Lord said to Israel of Old he is still saying to Israel today, but not to the physical nation of Israel, but to true biblical Israel, who believes in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of her life, and who is (or should be) walking in obedience to his commands.
Love for God is to walk in obedience to his commands, and it is a matter of practice, of lifestyle, not of an occasional or a selective choice to obey some of his commands. But these commands are not the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant, which teaches that we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17).
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 NIV
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
For the physical nation of Israel, their inheritance was then physical. Ours is now spiritual, as is theirs, too, who obey(ed) the Lord and who do/did not deny him and who do/did not live in disobedience to him in unbelief. Our Promised Land is not physical, but it is eternity with God in heaven.
The Lord delivered physical Israel out of physical slavery in Egypt and he then led them to their Promised Land, which was physical in nature, but which had a spiritual future home for them with us. Their deliverance was a type or a foreshadowing of our own deliverance from slavery to sin.
So, when God delivers us out of our slavery to sin and he is bringing us into our future home in heaven, we are not to forget the Lord, either, or his deliverance he provided us from our slavery to sin. We are not to take God’s grace for granted and think that we can now do whatever we want.
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.”
Everyone who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him (Ac 10:34-35). We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13). And we must offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:28-29).
To fear the Lord is to obey, respect, and honor him as the Holy God that he is. We are not to take his grace for granted or presume upon him some level of tolerance of premeditated, habitual, and deliberate sinning against him. For, the Scriptures teach that if we live to sin we will die in our sins (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
There is much teaching in the New Testament against idolatry, against following after other humans and the gods of this world, and there are many warnings that if we live in idolatry that we will not inherit eternal life with God (1 Co 6:9-10; 1 Co 10:7; 2 Co 6:14-18; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6).
These OT warnings against destruction due to disobedience and idolatry are not just in the OT. In the NT we are taught that if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
So, please take these warnings seriously. What was taught here in the OT is repeated for us, the church, in the NT. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh, then we will live (Rom 8:1-17).
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.