Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Blessing and the Curse

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Saturday, March 2, 2013:  Leviticus 25:47-27:13

I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. 10 You shall eat old store long kept, and you shall clear out the old to make way for the new. 11 I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. 13 I am theLord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves. And I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect.  Leviticus 26:9-13 (ESV)

There are two major passages of Scripture that list the BLESSINGS and the CURSES.  They are Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-28.  As followers of Jesus, we thankfully and joyfully acknowledge that Jesus has absorbed the curse for us according to Galatians 3:13-14.   "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus..."  

Since the curse is absorbed in Christ, all that remains is the BLESSING.  It is in this light that we may gladly affirm, "There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).  Paul goes on to explain, "the law of the Spirit of life has MADE ME FREE from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2).

This is the great freedom and blessing of the follower of Jesus.  We need not labor under the threat of the looming wrath of God against our sinfulness.  This is covenant language in which we who are in Christ are beneficiaries of the positive obedience of Christ in our behalf.  He has mediated the wrath of God that was against us.  God will no longer "abhor us" but instead shall make His dwelling among us because of Jesus.

Does this then mean that we can live any way we want with no penalty from God.  This was the indictment laid against Paul concerning his teaching about the grace of God.  "What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!"  (Rom. 6:1-2)  We no longer have a PERFORMANCE BASED relationship with God.  We have a covenant with God based on the obedience of Christ.  It has been said that if we knew how absolutely free we really are it would scare us!  But, we now have a Father who will discipline us (severely if necessary) not to MAKE us sons but because we ARE sons.

I think this is what St. Augustine and Martin Luther meant when they said, "Love God with all your heart and do as you please."

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