Thursday, December 7, 2006

A Matter of Life and Death: An Introduction

Biblical Life and Death Decisions

Deuteronomy 31
19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,

20 by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

If most people were asked to rate how hazardous their life is, they would probably feel that they live in a fairly safe environment. To be sure, we often take steps to put ourselves well out of harms way. For instance, you probably try to pick the safest neighborhood to raise your family. More than likely you do not participate in dangerous pastimes like base-jumping or cliff diving. Unless a military soldier or civil servant, you probably chose a career that doesn’t put you directly in harms’ way on a daily basis.

But the fact is that regardless of your career, or recreational activities, you are faced with several life and death decisions on a daily basis. And it might surprise you to realize that the reality of these life and death decisions is revealed in the Word of God.

Throughout the Bible life and death are set in juxtaposition to one another, and although the contrast is a common one in the Bible many people are completely unaware of the dangerous situations that they find themselves in every day. Thus in their ignorance, many people are constantly walking into deadly situations completely oblivious to the fact that they flirting with disaster, and are even killing themselves.

So, how does the Bible speak of these life and death situations?

Well, in Deuteronomy 31, God explicitly speaks of the fact that he sets before them a life and death decision. To hold to Him and to adhere to the stipulations set forth in the covenant would be life to them, and to break the covenant would be deadly to them and to their descendants. We will look more closely at this passage of scripture, but I mention it briefly to illustrate the how explicit the scriptures can be about such life and death decisions.

In many cases, we are faced with the prospect of choosing life or choosing death with regard to choices that we make every day. There are also many passages that refer to how a Christian must in fact die in order to obtain life, or said a different way: a Christian chooses life by choosing death.

Here is a list of such passages:

· Creation: Tree of life planted along side a tree that would bring death if eaten from.
· Moses put before Israel “life and death” when he charged them with keeping the commandments of the law
· How OT animal sacrifices foreshadowed Christ’s redemptive work that brings life
· Proverbs: life from the Lady Wisdom & the way of the harlot brings death
· Our life from Christ’s death
Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone, but if it die, it bears much fruit
The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep (that they might live)
· “He who would lose his life in this world, will gain it in the next”
Baptised into Christ’s death, raised in the likeness of His resurrection
· The law brought death, but the Spirit brings life (Rom 7 & 8)
· Forfeiting Life through “Living” (1Tim 5: 5-6)
· Serial Killer
Holy life through killing sin
Putting to death the deeds of the flesh.
· Serial Suicide:
Dying Daily
Living Sacrifices
· Evangelism: A Matter of Life and Death

The goal of this study is to gain a better understanding of the various ways that life and death decisions are placed before us every day. Then having recognized the dividing marks for these life & death decisions, I desire to learn how to consistently make to choice for life rather than death.