Your Vision for 2020 – Part Five: Our Blessings in Christ.

God wants to bless you. He says so in Deuteronomy 28:2, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you…” and the verse continues, “…if you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (ESV). You may say, “YAY! God wants to bless me! But uh oh, there’s a catch!” And you would kind of be right, except that God doesn’t ever trick us, so there isn’t really a “catch”. But God is telling us something about how and why he wants to bless us.
Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy near the end of his life, when the people of Israel were under the Law. Chapters 4 through 26 recount what God expected from his people as they prepared to cross over the Jordan river into the promised land. Deuteronomy 28 describes the blessings that God desired to shower on his people when they showed themselves to be obedient, and the curses that would follow their disobedience. Under the Law, God’s blessings were contingent on the people’s compliance, and his curses followed rebellion. God had laid down the Law through his servant Moses, and he expected his people to keep it (See Exodus 19 and 20).
But remember, God has always had a plan for the redemption of humanity, and each book of the Bible fits together to build up a blueprint for that plan. For example, Genesis 1 begins with creation, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (1:1), and John chapter one begins with a description of Jesus as the Word of God at the time of creation, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1).
Let’s read on and see what else John wrote about Jesus: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:14,16-17 ESV). The Greek word for grace is charis, which means loveliness, merciful kindness, favor, liberality, a reward, and a gift. The unearned favor of God is for those who believe in salvation by faith. The Law was given through Moses, but God’s grace comes through Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (ESV). Jesus did not come to destroy the Law. He came to fulfill all its requirements. He went on to explain, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (5:20). The scribes and Pharisees were sticklers for their interpretation of the letter of the Law – but even they could not keep it perfectly. And, Beloved Friends, neither could we, or any other human who has ever lived except for One, and that One is Jesus. Not only was he sinless, and not only did he keep the Law perfectly, but Jesus himself received the whole punishment that was coming to humanity for the breaking of the Law in his death at the cross. His righteousness far exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees.
Since this is true, we have the right through Christ to claim and enjoy all of God’s blessings and we do not need to fear that God will strike us with any kind of curse (See Galatians 3:13). However, we must understand that God will not bless sin, because sin is always harmful. Instead, as John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV).

God’s blessings and the unique talents he designed for each of us are intended to work in harmonious partnership. To illustrate this, we can picture all the skills of the Proverbs 31 Woman fitted together with all the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:2-14. We imagine her working with her hands, while God blesses her basket and her pantry. We can picture her planting and harvesting, while God blesses the fruit of her ground. We see her as a merchant, a teacher, a homemaker, a mother, while God blesses her going in and coming out. We can picture God blessing her ministry in the city and the country. We find God taking a personal interest in her home, her work, and her family, because God says, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:2 ESV).
Unlike under the Old Covenant, receiving God’s blessings doesn’t depend on our personal righteousness, or on how well we keep God’s laws. Today, under the New Covenant, God says yes and amen to all his blessings for us because we are in Christ Jesus (See 2 Corinthians 1:20). God doesn’t give us gifts and talents and expect us to go it alone. He desires us to come to him like Solomon did, with a listening heart, seeking wisdom and understanding. God wants to bless the work that he created us to do because he wants to help us grow, prosper and succeed as a testimony to his goodness. God works with us and through us. Jesus said, “My Father is working right now, and so am I” (John 5:17b GW).

When we place all our trust in him, then like he did with the Proverbs 31 Woman, God will redeem us from poor choices we’ve made in the past. As he did with David, God will lead us through trial and testing to find the way forward. As he did with Solomon, God will establish our hearts in wisdom. He will teach us to live and work and love and prosper in his ways, that are full of grace and truth.
As King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).

 

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