This week, President Barack Obama was inaugurated into the office of the President of the United States. As a Christian, I certainly disagree with him on major moral issues such as abortion and homosexuality. But on the other hand, his life and inauguration is an amazing story of our nation overcoming its sin of prejudicial racism! President Obama was sworn in on the Bible of former President Abraham Lincoln who God used to abolish slavery in America. So what is the Presidential Inauguration all about? It’s ultimately all about the President agreeing to obey and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is so close to what is happening in Deuteronomy!
In the book of Deuteronomy, we find God’s people (the Israelites) at the end of their 40 year hike through the wilderness. After all their traveling, complaining, watching miracles, war victories, and being disciplined by God…they are now on the banks of the Jordan River and looking over into God’s Land of Promise for them. God stops them there for 2 months before entering the Promise Land as He restates His covenant of salvation to them through their leader, Moses. He has Moses record this ginormous speech in the form of an ancient peace treaty. This section of the treaty lists the “Laws” of the Peace Treaty (covenant) that God is offering His chosen people.
Read Deuteronomy 5 – 26. I know it’s a lot! We’ll specifically look at Deuteronomy 6:1-19 for those of you who are lazy out there (haha). In this passage, God is calling His people to love Him by obeying His laws. He’s reminding them that He is the only true God, that they are sinners, and that His law is good! Teenagers I know usually don’t naturally like laws or rules because they feel held down. But God’s laws aren’t boring or oppressive. Rather, God’s laws are to keep you from the enslavement of sin and the danger that lurks in your future. I’ll be honest though, one phrase that always burns my biscuits is when people say “its not a religion, it’s a relationship.” What they mean by that is “I love God, but I’m not all about obeying His rules.” No, we know that we have been saved by God when we have a heart to obey Him out of our love for Him!
I’m convinced the reason God didn’t send Jesus right away but started everything off with calling the Israelites to be His people and to give them His first (old) covenant is because He was making the world feel the anticipation of His Son, Jesus. Jesus is the only Israelite (and human being) who has ever obeyed God’s law perfectly. In fact, Jesus said that we have to obey God’s law perfectly to enter into God’s Kingdom, and that He didn’t come to do away with God’s law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17). What is He saying? Jesus is saying that we can’t possibly be stupid enough to think that we can be perfect (which is God’s expectation), so He has lived the perfect life for us that we would believe in Him. We know that we truly believe in Him if we obey His law now (John 14:15).
I had a neighbor years ago who told me he was excited to hear I was a Baptist pastor because he knew that I’d believe in eternal security. He told me the story of “asking Jesus into his heart” in VBS as a little kid…but he was on his third marriage, had been in jail for several years, never had gone to church, and never read the Bible. No true life change means no true salvation! When we witness to people, we aren’t just asking them to believe in Jesus (even though that’s necessary), but we must make sure that they are making Jesus the Lord of their life and are following His ways (Luke 9:23). It isn’t enough to merely believe in Jesus like we’re believing in a Santa Claus, but God is all about us overcoming our sinful lifestyles and living for Him through faith in Christ. So what about you? Have you been a witness who just gets people to ask Jesus into their heart? Are you someone who has merely believed in Jesus, but haven’t made Him Lord?