Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blessing for Obedience

"If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid. And I will remove harmful beasts from the land, and the sword shall not go through your land. 7You shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you and will confirm my covenant with you. 10You 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 the LORD 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: 3-13

The Bible, specifically the Old Testament is filled with countless promises similar to the one above. God promises blessing if Israel is obedient to Him. If they will follow His commands, He will bless them. Moreover, the Old Testament is filled with instances where Israel is in fact disobedient to His commands, and in turn, God punishes them. This is a reoccurring pattern. God acts graciously to Israel and calls them to obedience, for a little while they are obedient and experience God's blessing, but then turn away from God and His immediate favor is removed, and repeat. So how does the story end.....

In God's steadfast love, God provides a way for Israel. Jesus comes to earth and lives the perfect life of obedience that Israel never could. He completely fulfills the law, and in doing so possesses perfect 'spiritual blessing'. Furthermore, God no longer gives his blessing through obedience. Rather, His people are blessed through faith Christ. We receive the blessings based on what Christ accomplished. Our perfect spiritual blessing hinges on the perfect obedience of another. This passage in Ephesians exults in a few of the blessings we have in Christ, mainly, adoption, being predestined, being lavished with grace, redemption from our temptations and an inheritance.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."

Ephesians 1: 3-10

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