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The Choice - The Crosswalk Devotional - October 7

God saves us, and then God calls us to follow him. He calls us to be imitators of Christ and walk in his ways (Ephesians 5). To do so avoids the inevitability of crushing consequences of disobedience and leads to a life of joy.

President, Faith for Living
Oct 07, 2022

The Crosswalk Devotional

The Choice
By Michael A. Milton, PhD

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." - Deuteronomy 30:15-20, NKJV.

Human beings are not trapped by divinely imposed fatalism. This is one of the regrettable marks of some world religions. Some even confuse the Christian doctrines of election, predestination, the sovereignty of God, and the secret councils of God with fatalism. However, the Bible never advances this dogma of human robots being unable to make a change. Instead, God ordains not only the ends, but he ordains the means. God cannot be God unless He is sovereign. Yet, He is not the Lord revealed in creation and the Bible unless He permits human moral agency. Thus, Moses can say to the people, Choose on this day whether to know Gods blessing or His displeasure. It is true, as Martin Luther responded to Erasmus, that our wills are in bondage until they are released by God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, when we receive Jesus Christ, our wills are liberated, as Augustine taught, to sin or not to sin.” Therefore, God calls us to receive Gods gift of the way, the truth, and the life. To deny this invitation to our Creators way is to default go sorrow. To choose God's way is to choose human flourishing.

There can be no greater curse one places upon oneself than to disregard this Creator. Therefore, Moses calls the people to the reminder that if they turn away from God and choose the ways of the world so prevalent in the people groups around them, they will be choosing the judgment that comes upon the world. We must be careful to add that it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that one is saved. God saved the people from the bondage of Egypt. They could not do it themselves. God gave them a leader, a foreshadowing of a Redeemer, in the person of Moses. God worked miracles to liberate them from bondage and lead them through the wilderness. Yet, God calls them in their redeemed state — redeemed from Egyptian bondage — to a new way of life. So, it is with us. God saves us, and then God calls us to follow him. He calls us to be imitators of Christ and walk in his ways (Ephesians 5). To do so avoids the inevitability of crushing consequences of disobedience and leads to a life of joy.

Moses calls creation to witness this statement. In doing this, Moses demonstrates that divine commands and consequences are deeply embedded within creation. These are universal laws that, if violated, will bring a judicial hardening of the conscience, removing God-given restraints and, at length, causing a free-fall descent into madness, resulting in personal and societal death. Such choices could not be for the people chosen to bring forth the Savior to the world. In verse 19, Moses reflects the Lord's concern for the magnitude of The Choice.” If the people choose what is right, they will not only bring blessing unto themselves but blessing unto their progeny. Israels choice to follow God or not was inexorably linked to the destinies of generations unborn. Our choices always are. The force of the collected truths of Scripture demonstrates our connection across generations. Children not yet born will know Jesus Christ from infancy. Others will not. There are many who are called to the ministry because of the prayers of great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents whom they never met. Moses’ message from God to Israel is Gods Word to us today.

God calls each generation of people who are his to this same valley of decision. Choose today if you will follow God or if you will follow the world. Your choice unleashes or hinders Gods blessings. While each person is responsible for his moral choices, one might be given the advantage of insight and wisdom—a legacy of faithfulness. Those Pilgrims and Puritan congregations who came to these shores decided to follow the Lord. They not only covenanted with God for themselves but, maintaining the transgenerational vision of this passage, prayed for us as well. The motif of this covenant of life in Deuteronomy 30, with its judgments and blessings, has been repeated throughout history. The covenant of Moses has birthed great nations, including the British Empire and the United States. As nations of families and individuals follow the truths of Gods Word, great benevolent cultures arise, bringing blessings to themselves and others. When the same people reject God, they invariably decline. We speak of nations not as merely political entities but as human families gathered in a place, in unity and bound by joint commitments. Even those individuals and families who deny God receive the public and cultural benefits of the shade offered by a greater collected faith and obedience to God. Human flourishing is the inevitable outcome of obedience—not a transactional health and wealth deal with God, but the ordinary blessings that do certainly attend recognition, submission, and practice of divine truth. Likewise, all human beings experience not only the positive but also the adverse effects of the covenant, the cursing, or the blessing. Christians today in the West must be particularly careful and prayerful. The prevailing winds of our culture are not only anti-Christian but if come to the point of denying reality. The judgments that the Apostle Paul noted in Romans chapter 1 have now fallen upon our people. Many rightly ask if the restraining power mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NKJV is now upon us. There is a tipping point in the stages of great nations in which they go too far from revealed truth (Romans 1:18-32). Like Nineveh, however, which certainly was on that trajectory to destruction, those who repent and believe the gospel are saved. It is never too late for either a person, a family, a local church, or a nation of Christians to repent and choose what is good and right. We are called to not only receive Christ by faith but to walk in faith. Obedience is the fruit of a will liberated from the devil's bondage. Choose what is good that you may live and your children and those after them.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Fatalism is not biblical. The sovereignty of God is exercised through creation and providence. And providence is moved” by prayer and by petition. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13). Until death removes the opportunity, a kind and merciful Savior grants you the opportunity to choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land . . .”

Further Reading

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Bulat Silvia

Dr. Michael A. MiltonMichael A. Milton (PhD, Wales) is a long-time Presbyterian minister (PCA) and a regular contributor to Salem Web Network. In addition to founding three churches, and the call as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Dr. Milton is a retired Army Chaplain (Colonel). He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit. Milton has also served as chancellor and president of seminaries and is the author of more than thirty books. He has composed and performed original music for five albums. He and his wife, Mae, reside in Western North Carolina. His most recent book is a second edition release: Hit by Friendly Fire: What to do when Another Believer Hurts You (Resource Publications, 2022). To learn more visit and subscribe: https://michaelmilton.org/about/.

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