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As our Creator and our King, God obviously has the right to determine the conditions upon which we can be saved from our sins. But having endowed us with a free will (the ability either accept or reject His love), God has also made our eternal destiny dependent on our choice in the matter. According to Rom. 6:23, death is "the wages of sin" and eternal life is the "free gift of God." Thus the choice whether to obey the gospel and faithfully accept God's gift is a choice of great consequence. When we choose to obey God, we choose life over death. In passages like Rom. 2:5-11, these two alternatives are made very clear.
Do we realize the greatness of the choice that lies before us? All too often, we live as if other issues were more important. Yet what subject could have more momentous consequences than the question of our decision about God?
If we refuse what God has made possible for us in Christ, no one will suffer grief more than God Himself. It is not God's desire that we perish, but rather that we live. To ancient Israel, God said, "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live" (Ezek. 18:32). And to Christians, the apostle Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Pt. 3:9). Now is the time to choose to submit ourselves reverently and lovingly to our Heavenly Father. Eventually, the time for decision will end, and then eternity will begin, in which we will either enjoy the life in God that we have chosen or suffer forever the consequences of the only other choice possible, the choice to reject Him.
Several thousand years ago, Moses knew that after his death, the people of Israel would be tempted to forsake God. So toward the end of his life, he stood before the people and declared, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live" (Deut. 30:19). So what will be our choice today? Throughout the coming week, let's think about the importance of this, the greatest choice any of us will ever make.
Monday: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Key Idea: The choice to obey God or not is the choice between spiritual life and death.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.16, what did Moses say the people should do to "live"? In their case, what kind of "life" was Moses talking about? In vv.17,18, what actions would cause them to "perish"? For us today, what clear alternative is presented in Rom. 2:5-11?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:13.
Tuesday: Romans 5:12; 6:23
Key Idea: Death is the consequence of sin, which is the violation of God's law.
Questions for Family Growth: According to Rom. 5:12, how did "death" come into the world? In 6:23, what are the "wages" of sin? What is the "free gift of God"? Where can this gift be enjoyed, according to this verse?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:14.
Wednesday: John 3:16,17
Key Idea: God, at great cost, has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins and to live.
Questions for Family Growth: What did God's love move Him to do for the world? What will happen eternally to those who do not receive "eternal life" in Jesus Christ? Jesus came into the world for what purpose, according to Jn. 10:10?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:15.
Thursday: Revelation 22:17
Key Idea: The life that God offers in Jesus Christ must be chosen.
Questions for Family Growth: What invitation is offered by "the Spirit and the Bride"? Who are those who have the opportunity to "take of the water of life without price"? What did Jesus say concerning our relationship to God in Mt. 7:7,8?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:16.
Friday: Ezekiel 18:30-32
Key Idea: It is not God's desire that we die, but rather that we choose life.
Questions for Family Growth: What did God call upon the people of Israel to do, according to vv.30,31? What important point did God make concerning Himself in v.32? What did Peter say about God in 2 Pt. 3:9? What is Jesus' invitation in Mt. 11:28-30?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:17.