Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Deuteronomy 29-30: Sovereignty, Accountability, and Hope

But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. (Deut 29:4 ESV)

The above verse is remarkable in demonstrating the biblical proclamation of divine sovereignty (i.e., God is in control of all things absolutely) and human accountability (i.e., that any evil we commit is our own fault). The LORD is the subject of this sentence; He is the one who is [not] performing the action of giving the necessary desires, perceptions, and understanding of spiritual matters. And yet this sentence comes in the context of an accusation against the nation of Israel under Moses. The people had seen the wonders the LORD had performed in rescuing them from Egypt, they had heard His voice at Sinai, they had partaken of His provision in the wilderness; they had every reason to value the LORD above all, to seek His ways, and to trust Him wholeheartedly. Yet they turned away; they didn't want to see, hear, or know. Called by the voice of God, they had ruptured their own eardrums rather than hear; confronted with the beauty of God, they had gouged out their own eyes rather than see; courted by the love of God, they had driven knives into their hearts rather than feel. And (as Augustine explained) just as the man who commits suicide has the power to take his own life, yet after taking his life, has no power to restore it, the Israelites, giving themselves to sin, had no power to save themselves. So God-- the Holy Lawgiver and Judge of Creation-- was under no obligation to grant new hearts, eyes, and ears to these rebels.

The good news is that, in His mercy, God does for sinners what we cannot do for ourselves.

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. (Deut 30:6 ESV)

We, like those ancient Israelites, hardened our hearts to every advance of God's love. Even if intellectually convinced that loving the LORD would be beneficial, our love for sin made our hearts hard, and we constantly fell short of giving Him the affection and glory He so richly deserves. But Christ paid for our transgressions-- He took the penalty for our rebellion by dying on the Cross-- He was buried, and then He rose again, showing that He had conquered sin, death, and Hell out of love for God and love for us. And now He gives the Holy Spirit to all who will believe on Him-- He burns away the dross of carnal affections, and He reshapes our desires-- that we may love God rightly and receive His promises.

If you are reading this and you have not already done so, then I beg you: turn from your sins, do not harden your heart again, but believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and find salvation.

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