Thursday, February 07, 2008

A new kind of land: Dt 11:10-12

"For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year." (Deuteronomy 11:10-12)
I believe that this verse prophetically foretold about the difference between a life lived under the law and living under grace. Moses was reminding the people that the land they were about to possess was not like the land they left some forty years earlier. Their former land only brought forth its provisions by the sweat of their brow. They had to work the land for all they were to receive. If they did not work, they did not eat. Day by day they labored to provide for their daily needs. The promised land, however, was a place where God labored for them. They were going to inherit houses, farms, and vineyards which they neither built nor planted. It was a land that God Himself cared for and tended. The blessings of the land were to be theirs, not based upon their own labors, but based upon the riches and grace of the Lord. They were about to receive an abundance for which they had not worked for.

The same contrast can be drawn between a life under the law and a life of grace. John tells us that Moses brought forth God's laws but Jesus His grace. "For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) The law taught us that, if we would do all that was contained with in it, we would live by it. The blessings of the law were reserved for those who, by careful observance, faithfully kept all the law. Only by fulfilling the entire law could someone be reckoned righteous before God. Grace, however, reckons us righteous, not because of our own efforts or works, but because of Jesus' efforts and His death on a cross. Under grace, righteousness is given to those who do not work but rather believe. "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work , but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness." (Romans 4:4-5)

When we become a Christian, we move from the kingdom of law to the kingdom of grace. Our righteousness cease to be based upon our own works and is now imputed to us by Christ, based upon His substitutionary death for our sins. We are received as sons, not because we have proved ourselves as worthy bur rather because He has declared us to be worthy. And we enter into a rest, a rest from our own labors, a rest purchased for us by God. "So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest , so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience." (Hebrews 4:9-11) Thanks be to God for His sabath rest.

David Robison

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