“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…”
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying, “A man who’s changed against his will is of the same opinion still,” got me thinking about the hopes and expectations people had of Jesus Christ, and the hopes and expectations of one person in particular: Judas Iscariot. He may have been one of the Zealot group who tried to manipulate events, hoping for a messiah to overthrow Roman rule. We don’t know for certain, but whatever it was that drove him to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver seemed to bring him regret. He then tried to reverse it by returning the money.
No matter how terrible his crime, or how remorseful he may have been, what he did even then did not cause him to lose salvation. But what he chose to do next is very interesting: “he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5) In Deuteronomy 21:23 we are told that anyone “who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse.” Judas appeared to choose to die under the curse of the Law, rejecting God’s grace and mercy. We do not know the final outcome of this story. Will this still be the same mind of Judas when he is resurrected? Only God knows.
However, this highlights that the only way that we can lose our salvation is through our own choice. We all have this choice, as God has given us free will. Will we choose to follow our will, or God’s will?
We see this admonition in Moses’ charge to Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19, quoted above. God is not trying to catch us out. He doesn’t grudgingly give us life, for he is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7) He is the God who sent his Son so that we may have eternal life—he does not want to condemn us, but to save us (John 3:16-17).
It is only our choice that can make sin “unpardonable” if we reject, rebel or disbelieve God. It is we who take the decision, and God does not overrule our free will. So CHOOSE LIFE.
Dear Father in heaven, please guide the minds and hearts of all those who enquire about your words and ways, that they may choose to live in the light of God and in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Study by Angela Hall
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Saturday 2:00 pm
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