“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
In the Bible, we are commanded to choose between life and death: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live …” And, according to this same passage, the manner in which we actually do the choosing is whether or not we choose to “love the LORD thy God,” and “obey his voice” and “cleave unto him.” If we do these things, the Bible says, then we will experience real “life” in this life. Why? Because, as the verse goes on to say, “for he is thy life, and the length of thy days.” In other words, our lives really rest in his hands, and in no one else’s. If he wants us to go (leave this earth, and die) we will. But if he wants us to enjoy a long, prosperous, and fruitful life, we will do that, as well. Our life is in his hands! Therefore, we are to cleave to HIM! Having said this, it seems obvious, then, that the Bible makes it very clear that, more often than not, we have a choice in the matter, as to whether or not we are going to abide in death (I am not saying that we always have a choice, for, what about the unborn babies that are ruthlessly and innocently murdered? And what about all of the abuses that occur in which people are maimed and crippled and even killed, innocently? We cannot, therefore, take this verse out of its context, which is given to those who have a choice in the matter).
Jesus made an interesting statement one day. He said, “He who believes in me has passed from death unto life.” This, then, being the case, a clear case can be made between an association between belief and life, and unbelief and death. If we choose “not to believe” that Jesus is the Son of God, and that through Him we can possess eternal life, then, as Jesus has said, we will not get out of our trap of death. We will one day die, and then we will face God without Christ in our lives, because we chose to “abide in unbelief” in the Son of God. However, if we choose to believe in the Son of God right now, then we will also possess eternal life, right now, in accordance with Jesus’s words to us in John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” We will not need to be afraid when the day comes where we will have to stand before our great God, because we will be spared from God’s wrath, which is reserved only for those who have not committed their lives to Jesus Christ.
Now if we move this thought a little further, we can see that not only does unbelief have the potential to keep us out of God’s kingdom forever, but, even for those who are “saved’ and “called” by God, yet another form of “unbelief” can prevail, which leads to yet another type of death: that of not being able to fully “enter in” to all of God’s promises for us here on this earth. For example, how many of us know of people, even well-meaning, sincere Christians, who died “too soon” and who did not inherit all of the promises that they could have inherited in this life? I am not trying to judge such people here, but, by the same token, I think it would be very wrong to assume that everyone who dies young has died in God’s perfect will. I think not! To support this statement, we turn to Hebrews 3:18-19, which says that most of the people of Israel who left Egypt were not permitted to fully inherit all of God’s blessings for them in this life, because of unbelief (the word “disobedience” is also used interchangeably here, as it is the same word in the Greek!). “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:18-19)
Now surely, not all of the Israelites who wandered in the desert were banned from entering heaven. But notice that all but two (Caleb and Joshua) were banned from being able to “enter into the promised land.” So, too, is it with us, when we refuse to do things God’s way, when we choose to grumble instead of give thanks and when we choose not to both believe, yes, and obey, God’s word, which is “chock-stock” full of wonderful promises that we can rely upon … if only we would believe, if only we would obey! As it says in Deuteronomy, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Let us make that decision today, to rest in God’s promises, to believe his word, to seek him with all our hearts, and to diligently “harken” unto his voice. By all means, don’t argue with him, but instead, learn to appropriate his wonderful promises into your life day by day, and even more so, as you see the day of judgment approaching!