At first sight, all seems well. The Lord delivers His people, offers them the covenant promises, and they agree: they will do all that the Lord asks them to do. It is a deal “made in heaven,” right?
Read the following texts. What insight do they give us regarding Israel’s response to the covenant?
Whatever God asks us to do, our relationship with Him must be founded upon faith. Faith provides the basis upon which works follow. Works, in and of themselves, no matter how purely motived, no matter how sincere, no matter how numerous, can’t make us acceptable in the sight of a holy God. They could not in Israel’s time, and they cannot in our time, as well.
If, however, the Bible over and over stresses works, why can’t works make us acceptable in God’s sight? (See Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23.)
Unfortunately, the Hebrew people believed that their obedience became the means of their salvation, not the result of salvation. They sought righteousness in their obedience to the law, not the righteousness of God, which comes by faith. The Sinai covenant — though coming with a much more detailed set of instructions and law — was designed a covenant of grace as much as all the preceding covenants as well. This grace, freely bestowed, brings about a change of heart that leads to obedience. The problem, of course, was not their attempt to obey (the covenant demanded that they obey); the problem was the kind of “obedience” they rendered, which wasn’t really obedience at all, as the subsequent history of the nation showed.
|Read carefully Romans 10:3, particularly the last part. What point is Paul making there? What happens to people who seek to establish their own righteousness? Why does that attempt inevitably lead to sin, unrighteousness, and rebellion? Look at our own lives. Are we not in danger of doing the same thing?|