Living THEN as the People of God
Three topics are dealt with in this passage. One translation of the Bible gives the following headings for this material: 16:21-17:7 Forbidden Forms of Worship; 17:8-13 Legal Decisions by Priests and Judges; and 17:14-20 Laws Concerning Israel’s Kings.
These regulations were to shape the life of the community as a people devoted to God and delivered by him from the cruel bondage in Egypt. They were to be God’s people living in a land given to them by God.
We are not ancient Israel and we do not live when they did. God’s purposes have moved on and His Messiah has come and will come again. Our calling is to love God with heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. What we learn from today’s reading is that love for God and his redeeming work draws us to seek to please him in all we do.
Living NOW as the People of God
1 John 3:4-11
What John is not saying is that believers never fail God and sin. That is clear from what he says in 1:8-10. What he is saying is that the man or woman who is a child of God, who has been reborn by his Spirit, seeks always to live in glad obedience to God. This is the child of God’s defining characteristic.
When we go to be with the Lord at death, or when Christ returns, the possibility of sinning will be gone forever and we will live joyfully with Him in his wonderful new heavens and earth. Here and now the children of the kingdom live as children of the kingdom in the here and now with all the challenges that presently come from the world, the flesh, and the devil. It will not always be like that.