Joshua 8:33                           Whom Do We Worship?                              9/4/2011          ßą   

 

 

 

 

#1.       An Altar of Whole Stones (Josh 8:33, Deut 27:2-10, Ezek 36:26, Matt 3:9, Eph 5:27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Blessings (Josh 8:33-34, Deut 27:11-12, Rom 8:28, Gal 3:24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Cursings (Josh 8:33, Deut 27:13-15, Gen 3:16, Gal 1:8-9, 3:10, Rom 1:18-32, Deut 28:1-2, 27:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4.       Whom Do We Worship? (Deut 28:2,15, Rom 3:23, Gal 2:16,21, 3:10,21, Rom 8:2-3)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 8:30 (2X). Jericho and Ai have fallen. The king of Jericho and the king of Ai are dead. These are historical events which we do not deny. But through these historical events God has shown us the spiritual dimension of these events, for God wrote the Bible for the salvation of souls, and throughout this Prophecy of Joshua we can see the Gospel of grace shine through. This Old Testament history is entirely harmonious with the New Testament Gospel of grace alone. For example, do we remember what the battle of Jericho represents? It represents the last battle on earth of the army of Christ against the city of Satan. The king of Jericho represents Satan, and the rescue of Rahab the Harlot represents the rapture of the saints on the last day. But since the entire outcome on the last day was already decided at the cross in AD 33, we can confidently say that presently Satan is a defeated foe. He has been hanged and was cast for dead at the entrance of the ruins of his city. His last actions before the end of the world are only actions in obedience to the counsel of God.

Do we remember what the battle of Ai represents? It represents the battle for our egocentric self. This was our second greatest enemy. And again the entire outcome of this battle was already decided at the cross and at the resurrection in AD 33. If I have been Born Again, the Lord Jesus Christ has fully paid for the guilt of all my sins at the cross in AD 33, and has justified me at His resurrection, for we read in Rom 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” The Bible teaches that if we were in Christ from before the foundation of the world, then we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, we rose from the tomb with Christ, we ascended with Christ into heaven, and we are already now seated with Christ in the heavenlies, reigning with Him. When I became Born Again that was the time when the city of Ai fell. I was the king of Ai, fiercely opposing the power of Christ, and my obnoxious, stubborn, rebellious self died when Christ died on the cross, and when I actuallybecame Born Again all my sins were wiped away. Therefore when God revealed to me that the king of Jericho was defeated unto death and the king of Ai was dead, never to rise up again, I was filled with gratitude. Do we show our gratitude when things go well? It is time to rejoice. Josh 8:30-35,

Jos 8:30-35 Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

Please put a sticker here in Joshua 8, and please turn to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 27:2 (2X). As we have read in Josh 8:31, God commanded that a monument and an altar should be built to Him on Mount Ebal.

#1.       An Altar of Whole Stones (Josh 8:33, Deut 27:2-10, Ezek 36:26, Matt 3:9, Eph 5:27)

De 27:2-  And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister: And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over, that thou mayest go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land that floweth with milk and honey; as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee. Therefore it shall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shalt plaister them with plaister. And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones: thou shalt not lift up any iron tool upon them. Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of whole stones: and thou shalt offer burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God: And thou shalt offer peace offerings, and shalt eat there, and rejoice before the LORD thy God. And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly. And Moses and the priests the Levites spake unto all Israel, saying, Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.

From Josh 8:33 we see that the Ark of the Covenant was on display again. Do we remember the previous two times that the Ark of the Covenant was on display? It was at the crossing of the Jordan River, representing Christ enduring the cross for our sins, and at the battle of Jericho, representing the last day and, in a proleptic vision, of the counsel of God at the cross in AD 33. And now we discover in Deut 27:9 the reason for the third showing of the Ark of the Covenant, for the words recorded here are picturing the day we become Born Again: “O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God.” Therefore, any obedience to the Law of God by the people is not a confirmation of the Arminian gospel, but is a response of gratitude by the people of God. Deut 27:2-4 speak of building a monument to their salvation on which the law was inscribed, using whole stones. Deut 27:5-7 speak of building an altar of whole stones for burnt offerings and peace offerings. These stones must be whole stones as they are found, for these stones represent the souls of unsaved people. When God looks at the souls of natural men He only sees dead hard stones, unable to do anything that please God. When we become Born Again God says in Ezek 36:26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” When John the Baptist said in Matt 3:9, “that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” he was not referring to literal stones, but to unsaved people around him who have hearts of stone; God is able to convert them so that they become children of Abraham, who is called the father of all them that believe. Now another thing concerning the altar Joshua built.

What is an altar? An altar is a place of sacrifice, bloody sacrifices. But all the bloody animal sacrifices of the Old Testament were types and figures looking forward to the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. That is why the altar had to be made from hard stones, representing unsaved people. Christ shed His blood for them, not for righteous people who need no forgiveness. And what does the plaster represent that holds the stones together? It represents the Word of God and the love of God, for this is how God designed it that we should love one another and hang together as a congregation having a common faith in the Word of God. We see that God is brutally honest about the wickedness of men and the hardness of our heart, and that we do not lose our identity so quickly. And in this we see the foreshadowing of the New Testament church for whom Christ shed His blood and gave His life, “That He might present us to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph 5:27). These stones were not shaped by men, but by God. And there, according to Deut 27:7, in these congregations of stones we shall offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice before the Lord our God.

And then God commanded to write upon the stones of the monument all the words of the law very plainly, Josh 8:32. What does this law refer to? Does it refer to the entire Pentateuch: Genesis through Deuteronomy? Obviously not, because there is not enough space on this memorial to write 370 pages of text. But a summary of the law was given in Ex 20 and in Deut 5 where God wrote with His finger on two tables of stone the Ten Commandments. This was written on the monument of stones. And then God said in Deut 27:10, “Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the LORD thy God, and do his commandments and his statutes, which I command thee this day.”

What is the message from God in this activity of Joshua building the monument on Mount Ebal, and writing the law on these stones? Notice here is Mount Ebal again. Please turn again to Joshua 8:32. There we read,

Jos 8:32  “And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.”

And what does this action of building the monument represent? Joshua stands there in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for his name is the same name as Jesus. Joshua is the Hebrew name and Jesus is the Greek translation of it. First He bound Satan, as He promised He would do in Matt 12:28-29, and while hanging on the cross He plundered the house of Satan, and He pronounced a curse on Satan equivalent to hanging him on a tree, then He rose from the grave and 40 days later ascended into heaven, and who did He see there? Satan! So He cast Satan out of heaven and cast him into the Bottomless Pit (Rev 12:9, 20:1-3), which is equivalent to the king of Jericho being killed, and hung on a tree, and cast dead at the entrance of his ruined city. Then Christ built a monument with Christ as the Chief Cornerstone; He built the church from the stones which He took out of the house of Satan and glued the stones together with His love and with His Word, which keeps us together until the end of time, and He wrote the Ten Commandments in our hearts so that they are with us until the end of time. You see, even though these stones portray the hardness of our hearts, God shows hereby that He delights in mercy. His mercy, His unmerited pardon, is indescribable and very great. There is no sin so great that the Lord could not forgive, for only God knows how to calculate with the number infinity. His grace, His unmerited favor, is very great. His grace for His elect children knows no bounds. And even though these stones are very hard and ugly, God is able to build from these stones the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, which is more beautiful than any temple made from the most precious stones found on earth. And simultaneously He built the altar to show us that He is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, and that His sacrifice is the hinge on which entire world history depends. And then He declared to us His Covenant in words which still ring in our ears, for here He described His Covenant in terms of blessings and cursings. We never heard the Covenant expressed in this way. Let us first read Josh 8:33, and then please turn again to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 27:11 (2X).

#2.       The Blessings (Josh 8:33-34, Deut 27:11-12, Rom 8:28, Gal 3:24)

Jos 8:33-34 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

So Joshua gathered all the people together, including the strangers such as Rahab the Harlot and all her family, and the Kenites, the children of the brother in law of Moses. Six tribes stood on Mount Gerizim, and six tribes stood on Mount Ebal. Joshua, and the Levites, and the Ark of the Covenant, and the strangers, and the elders, and the officers and the judges stood in the valley between those two mountains. And the Levites spoke with a loud voice the curses and the blessings, and afterward Joshua read all the words of the curses and the blessings to those standing by in the valley. Now please turn to Deut 27:11-12 (2X), and here we read, “And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin:” Historically first the blessings and then the cursings were spoken by the Levites. These blessings and cursings are listed in Deut 28. The 12 curses that are listed in chapter 27 are of a more general nature and they are answered by the congregation with: AMEN.

What are blessings? Blessings are gifts from God that work together to lead us to salvation. The best definition of blessings is given in Rom 8:28, where we read, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Now this is an amazing verse, for God declares herein that all things in history work together to be blessings for the elect of God; more precisely to be blessings leading us to salvation. Only matters pertaining to eternal life are blessings. Our focus must always be on the life hereafter. Much money and wealth are not in this category. God gives the reprobate money and wealth, but it actually increases their accountability before God on the last day, so that these things turn out to be curses rather than blessings. And thus, the entire life of the child of God is filled with blessings from beginning to end. This is what we must believe, for God does not lie. For example, God says in Gal 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Even the law, which apparently brings judgment, was designed to lead us to repentance and to Christ. And thus, even the so called disasters in our life are all blessings in disguise. God, in His wisdom, knows how to arrange His providence, so that we can rejoice in all things that He does in our life. There is not one exception, for God cannot lie, and God does not want any of His children to suffer needlessly. This, of course, only applies when we are the elect of God. Would it not be nice to know if you are one of God’s elect? Keep listening, and eventually you will know. Let us now look at:

Jos 8:33  And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

What is the spiritual meaning of Mount Gerizim? The name Gerizim means “Cuttings off”. That is a strange name for a mountain. But God gave us the name of that mountain so that we can figure out the spiritual meaning of Mount Gerizim. Which blessings are “cuttings off?” Well, if it has to do with salvation then the cutting off of sins is definitely a blessing from God. It means that repentance is a blessing from God. And that is indeed the case. For example we read in Matt 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The Lord Jesus is definitely a blessing from God, and when He delivers us from our sins that is again a blessing from Him. When He delivers us from our sins it means that He gives us repentance from those sins; it means that He breaks the power of those sins over us; it means that He removes the attraction of those sins from us. And so, that is an example where the “Cuttings off” is a blessing from God.

Is repentance always a gift from God? What does the Bible say? We read in Acts 5:31, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” The Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted by God to give repentance and to give the forgiveness of sins to Israel. This refers to the spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, the elect of God, who will be given repentance and simultaneously with their repentance they will receive the gift of faith and of salvation. Repentance is the divinely wrought conviction of sin in my heart that my soul is guilty before God. It is my turning away from sin and identifying me with having been an offense to God. And so, my repentance involves both an intellectual change of mind about my sin and a change of heart-attitude toward sin. I do not want my sin any more because it grieves My heavenly Father.

In my sinful nature I cannot repent. But through the work of the Holy Spirit I can recognize myself as a sinner in rebellion against God, and evil in nature. Therefore, repentance is always preceded by God’s work in my heart. And once God’s illuminating grace has given me true faith there will always be true repentance. The corollary is also true: Where there is not true repentance there can never be true faith. Therefore repentance is necessary to salvation, and repentance is a continual act of the grace of God and necessary for growing in grace.

And so, since Mount Gerizim has to do with “Cutting off” as a blessing, we can see that the cutting off of sins is the greatest blessing in this list of blessings, for it addresses directly our relationship with God. This is what we want to know. Are we a child of God; are we one of God’s elect? For only if we are among God’s elect will the description of Deut 28:3 apply, for there we read, “Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.” Only if we are a child of God shall we be continually blessed in the city as well as in the field.

#3.       The Cursings (Josh 8:33, Deut 27:13-15, Gen 3:16, Gal 1:8-9, 3:10, Rom 1:18-32, Deut 28:1-2, 27:9)

Jos 8:33  And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.

Let us now turn again to Deut 27:13 (2X). And there we read in Deut 27:13-15,

De 27:13-15  And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice, Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. And so on and so on.

The 12 curses listed in verses 15-26 do not belong to the list of blessings and cursings that are in question. Except for the first one, all the other 11 curses concern the second table of the law, which refers to loving our neighbor as ourselves. But then come the two lists of blessings and cursings of Deut 28. There are 11 blessings and 49 cursings in Deut 28. We have already seen that the greatest blessing is to be a child of God. The greatest curse then is to be rejected by God; it is to be a reprobate; it is to be a person who is a continual abomination in the sight of God and is on the way to Hell. Let us develop this concept from the beginning. When God chose His elect from before the foundation of the world, and God added a second contingent of people who are not going to be saved, according to Gen 3:16, these people come into the world under the curse that God placed on Adam and all his seed. Please turn to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:10 (2X). Then these people increase the curse on themselves by adhering to another gospel, Gal 1:8-9, and by adhering to a gospel of works, as we read in Gal 3:10 (2X),

Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

And since these people are not saved, every one of them who were passed by in the process of election will develop in their minds concepts of other gods whom they worship, and as a result God will give them over to vile affections and to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:18-32). Today the Internet is assisting them in finding addresses to give themselves over to the vilest debauchery, thereby hasting God’s wrath on this world, and God will be totally justified in putting an end to this world. And so, it is of the utmost importance that we understand from the Bible who the real God is who made us for His glory. The greatest curse is to follow other gods who lead us on a slippery slide into Hell. That is why we want to focus on the Arminian gospel, which apparently is taught in Deut 27 and 28. Please turn again to the Prophecy of Deuteronomy, Deut 28:1 (2X). The Arminian gospel is another gospel than the Gospel of grace alone, and thus it serves another god than the God of grace. We read in Deut 28:1,

De 28:1-2  And it shall come to pass, IF thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” (Now that is an IF - THEN struggle.)

IF we isolate these verses from the rest of the Bible THEN we come to the conclusion that our God says to us: “IF you do this, IF you are obedient to my commandments, THEN I will save you and make you ride on the high places of the earth, and IF you do not obey my commandments THEN you will be cursed in My sight.”

The Arminians are smiling. But that this is a faulty conclusion can be seen from Deut 27:9 where God shows us that He is referring to people who have become Born Again. God says in Deut 27:9, “O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the LORD thy God.” Therefore, since you are Born Again I will cause my blessings to rain on you, and your second nature will be to obey My commandments. Remember that most of the cults are spawned by taking some of the verses out of the King James Bible, and taking them out of context. Let us now look at:

There is a whole lot more going on Mount Ebal than there is on Mount Gerizim. On Mount Ebal is the glorious monument which reminds us of the church that the Lord came for “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph 5:26). On Mount Ebal is the “altar of whole stones.” What is the meaning of Mount Ebal? Mount Ebal means “Bare Mountain” or “Bald Mountain” and Ebal means “Stone.” It reminds us again that people have a stony heart. Let me illustrate what a stony heart does.

Suppose that I am asleep in my house in the night of December 31. Fireworks are everywhere, but I am asleep. And suddenly my house catches on fire from the fireworks, and my brother who lives next door sees it and tries to wake me up. Not a chance. I am in a deep sleep. My brother breaks down the front door, he rushes into the house, wakes me up and helps me to the front door. I step outside, but from pure exhaustion he collapses, still inside the house. The house burns down and my brother dies. O well, fire insurance will cover the expense of the house, and for the rest of my life I do not think any more of this incident, for I live comfortably from the money that I collect from the insurance company. Is this not an example of a very hard heart? And yet, this is how most people live these days. The real situation is actually worse than I have sketched in this story. My brother is my next of kin. He is my Kinsman-Redeemer. He did not die by suffering the fire for a few minutes. He died by suffering the intensity of fire equivalent of an eternity in Hell while hanging naked on a cross for 6 hours. But if for the rest of my life I do not want to remember this incident, nor am I grateful to my Redeemer for rescuing me out of my burning house, then God says, “Since with your incredible ingratitude and stony heart you have spurned my love, I will also not remember anything you might have done for me, but I will remember every incident where you insulted Me, and I will demand that you pay Me in Hell whatever you owe Me.” This is how most people live. They either forget the cross of Christ, regardless how much it might have cost the Son of God, or they remember it as a historical event that occurred a long long time ago in a land far far away, and it does not touch them at all in their heart. They prefer not to be bothered by it. And God’s response is: “Have it your way.”

This is what Mount Ebal reminds us of. Our earthly kingdom is like a bald rock; it is spiritually empty. Our souls are like hard rocks. And yet it is for these hard souls that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. That is why the barrage of curses comes from Mount Ebal, for there is where the altar is. There is where Christ was crucified for sinners; not for good people but for sinners. The warnings are a sign of God’s love for us. God is concerned about us. And God warns us about our hardened heart, and about the sin which doth so easily beset us, and about the future which is either forever peace and joy with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth, or it will be in turmoil and in pain in Hell forever. But who will listen? Who will consider the life hereafter of any importance?

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Ezek 11:19 (2X). Who will listen to these warnings from God? His warnings go out into the whole world. For the past 400 years the Bible has been a bestseller by far, outstripping even the best books man has written by 10 to 1, and so the message of the Bible has been known throughout the world. No one has an excuse any more. The Gospel of grace alone is now known in all the nations of the world. Who will listen to these warnings from God? Only those who are God’s elect receive a nudging from God the Holy Spirit in the right direction. I should not say nudging, for God is dragging us to Christ, even though initially we do not want to come close to Him; we are ashamed; we cannot see Him eye to eye, because we have to admit that we loved our sins so much that we were willing to ignore the cross and all its consequences. We were willing to follow our own hardened heart rather than Christ. But God was not satisfied with that answer. We read:

Eph 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

And so, God promised in Ezek 11:19 that He will interfere in our lives. He will cause us to get rid of our hardened heart, and He will give us a heart of flesh. Our gratitude for what Christ has done for us will be very great because we will have a softened heart, and He will give us a love for Him and for our fellow man. We read in Ezek

Eze 11:19, “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.”

And then we will experience the love of God that will be shed in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. We read in:

Rom 5:5, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

And now the question God lays before us, and this is the question we must lay before the people of the world:

#4.       Whom Do We Worship? (Deut 28:2,15, Rom 3:23, Gal 2:16,21, 3:10,21, Rom 8:2-3)

Please turn to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 2:16 (2X). Clearly the Arminian gospel has another god than we do. The Arminian gospel says: “All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, IF thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God” (Deut 28:2). It is a conditional blessing. It is a blessing which must be earned by being obedient to the voice of the Lord thy God. And woe unto you if you do not obey these commands, for God says in Deut 28:15, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” It means that every violation of God’s commands will be punished with an eternity in Hell. It means that nobody will enter heaven, for “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). And so, can the Arminian explanation of Deut 28:1-68 be the true interpretation of God’s Word. Absolutely not! The Bible as a whole must harmonize. God is not a liar in one place and speaks the truth in another place. The God who dictated Deuteronomy to Moses is the same God who dictated Galatians to Paul. And there in Gal 2:16 God says plainly that a man is not justified by being obedient to the law. We read in Gal 2:16,

Ga 2:16  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for

by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Twice do we read in this verse that a man is not declared just in the sight of the Lord by the works of the law. This does not refer to the law of the Ten Commandments, but it refers to anything WE DO. We read in Gal 2:21,

Ga 2:21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

That is clear is it not? If salvation would come by obeying the law, then Christ would not have to die. It is definitely not God’s plan that men would be saved by earning their way to salvation by obeying the law of God. The purpose of the law is that we recognize our sinfulness and that we plead with God to deliver us from our sins, and this the Lord Jesus Christ can do. Therefore the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ. In fact, if we do not recognize that and we continue to do the works of the law we are under the curse of the law. We read in Gal 3:10,

Ga 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Therefore the purpose of the law is not to get us saved, but to lead us to Christ, and He will save us. Gal 3:21,

Ga 3:21  Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

If there had been a law given which could have given eternal life, verily salvation would have been by the law, and not by Christ crucified. This is logical. The Father loves His only begotten Son more than He loves us. And thus if there would have been another way how we could have been forgiven of our sins the Father would have implemented it, without any doubt, and Christ would not have to be crucified. Now, why is this not clearly understood? Why do people still worship the false god of the freewill gospel? Why do they not understand that we first must be Born Again? And then we realize that the Gospel of salvation was equally difficult to understand for Old Testament people as well as for New Testament people. In both cases it requires the illumination of God the Holy Spirit. And this illumination is only given to God’s elect, not to every one in this world. And so, the rest of mankind is under the curse of selective hearing. They hear the words from the preacher, or from the Bible study teacher, but they do not hear it completely. They hear only what they want to hear. Let me give a brief example of this. Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 8:2 (2X). We read there in Rom 8:2-3 (2X). 

Ro 8:2-3  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Verse 2 speaks of two laws: the law of sin and death, and the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. But most people hear with their ears only the law of sin and death. It is the law of God and the penalty of eternal death in the lake of fire. But no penalty however great will deter people from sin. Therefore the law of sin and death is less powerful than the power to sin. However, the gratitude that flows from our faith in what Christ has done is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and it is more powerful than the power to sin. This is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which will make me totally free, and when I am free I am saved from condemnation. Praise God for a salvation so simple and yet so profound.              AMEN.           Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.