KEY THOT: Moses has set before Israel the option to choose life over death. If Israel chooses life, it will mean blessing. But if they choose death, it will bring a curse in their life. To choose life means to love the Lord your God, obey his voice and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 30 is the conclusion of the segment which starts in chapter 28 where Moses spells out the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. However, Paul teaches in Galatians 3:10-14 that Jesus has broken the curses of disobedience under the law, so that the Gentiles may receive only the blessings on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Believers therefore are spared the curses of the Law of Moses to receive only its blessings:
- Galatians 3:10-14 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
It is indeed true that all who put their faith in Christ's work on the Cross are justified before God on the basis of faith not works, having received the gift of eternal life and the Holy Spirit. This salvation is entirely God's work, not ours. It is a gift to be received by faith, not earned by works. However, this salvation that is already ours need to be worked out in real life so that the blessings associated with it can be experienced in our personal life: "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
Note that it is GOD who WORKS IN us even as we WORK OUT his salvation. This process is called sanctification in Scriptures. While we are not saved by our works, we are saved to work out what God has worked in us.
As we allow God to work in us, we let the blessings of Abraham flow into our lives, so that the curses associated with the law of sin in our flesh may be defeated. Paul has described this dilemma of law and grace in Romans 7:24-25: "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."
Our sinful flesh operates under the law of sin, so the law of consequences still applies, despite the fact we are already justified before God. In this same letter where Paul argues earlier that we are justified by faith not works, he nevertheless concludes in Galatians 6:7-9 that the law of consequences still apply to believers: "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
Sanctification follows the law of consequences: if we sow obedience to the Spirit, we will reap the blessings of our salvation which is eternal life. But if we sow sins by obeying the lusts of our sinful flesh, we will reap the curses of the law that produces corruption resulting in decay, diseases and in some cases early death. God's desire is that having been justified by faith, we shall be sanctified by obedience: "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The fact that Christians suffer the same decay, diseases and even premature death as non-believers is proof that this law of consequence still applies to Christians because of law of sin in our flesh.
May God grant us His power to obey his Spirit so that we may experience the full blessings of salvation that is already ours in Christ--so that we may experience healing, wholeness and longevity of life. Amen.