Deuteronomy 8-10…Remembering God and His grace, and the importance of heart change.
Chapters 8-10 in Deuteronomy outline the key components of the gospel. Israel did not have the full revelation of God’s plan of salvation that we have, but the call to turn to the Lord and away from their sins is the same. Here are the key components of the gospel laid out in this text.
1) The objective reality we see in these chapters is that the Lord is their God. Regardless of what we believe, this is true for us as well. He has authority as creator to require our obedience, as we’re living in His kingdom.
2) Israel rebelled and stubbornly refused to submit to His authority. We are the same, and according to Deuteronomy 8:19, we “forget the Lord and go after other gods and serve them and worship them.” The warning here is that we will “surely perish.” He’s not talking merely about a physical death, although that is a component of the result of our rebellion against a perfectly holy and perfectly just God. The main point is that there is eternal punishment for our souls because we do not love God and obey Him like we should.
3) But God, being rich in mercy and abundantly patient and gracious, provides a rescue plan. Israel didn’t yet fully understand how God would execute the promise made in Genesis 3:15, but some believed, and the righteousness of Christ was counted as their own. God makes it clear that the people did not have a righteousness of their own to offer, and that it was only because of His faithfulness and love that they could be saved (Deuteronomy 9:5):
“Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
4) The way for us to be made right with God is not by our own righteousness. This is true for us, and was true for Israel. We see this clearly in Deuteronomy 9:6:
“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.”
The right response to knowing that we need a righteousness outside of ourselves, is to turn from our sins and believe God’s promise of salvation. Those saved in the Old Testament had faith in God, and He credited to them as righteousness. We can look back today and clearly see that this perfect righteousness came from God the Son, and is imputed to us if we repent and believe.