Choosing eternal life is something we have to do in our own lives; yes, itís a free gift from God, but we have to choose to accept it, or choose the ways of most of the people in this world that eventually lead to destruction.
Basically, choosing eternal life is choosing to live in the heavenly will of God rather than in the corrupt and evil ways of the devil in this world.
And if we choose to live in the heavenly will of God we are obligated to live that life here on earth as it is in heaven, which means that we have chosen not to participate in the human caused violence, pain, suffering, and death, that plagues this world and reeks destruction on our environment.
Furthermore, when choosing eternal live for ourselves, we are also choosing to give that same choice to every other human, all the other animals, and our environment by peacefully speaking out against those who choose to live in the corrupt ways of this world with all its violence, which takes away most of the peace and freedom that the Lord has given all His living beings (humans and animals).
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 presents this choice in somewhat different waysÖ
15. "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;
If we just look at these choices on the surface. why wouldnít everyone choose life and prosperity?
Well, itís because most of the people around us are living in the corrupt ways of this world, and for the most part they donít even think about the fact that it will lead them to death and adversity, and because of their peer pressure they make it hard for most people to leave it behind, but that is what is necessary to have life and prosperity.
16. in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
If we truly love the Lord our God, we should also love the whole of His creation, which He lovingly spoke into existence without any violence, pain, suffering, or death.
So, if we walk in His way, then we would do everything that is necessary to bring back the peaceable kingdom He created, which is also another way of helping to free creation from its present corruption.
Today, we are not entering a physical land as the Israelites were when this passage was written, but we are supposed to enter the kingdom of heaven and bring it here on earth, which in turn brings us closer to having a peaceable kingdom here on earth once again.
17. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
This is going along the way that leads to death and adversity, and we are not to follow the people that are living this way, and make idols of things they want, such as peopleís love for the flesh of animals.
People also make idols out of their homes, their cars, their boats, and even of wanting the fellowship of the people who live in the corrupt ways of this world rather than following the Lord our God and His heavenly will.
18. I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.
People perish in this physical world, but there are also ungodly people who live a long time, but they eventually do perish, and cannot enter heaven; this is the death that awaits all people who reject living in the heavenly will of God.
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,
This is the choice that faces all of us, but as we look at the world around us, it appears that most people are on the road leading to death; this is what Jesus was trying to teach us when His said that broad is the way leading to death, and narrow is the way that leads to life.
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."
As we said above, the vast majority of people are no longer entering the land of Israel, and Godís promise referred to in this passage was from thousands of years ago, but today we all have the opportunity to enter the kingdom of heaven, as Jesus promised, but we must be choosing eternal life in order to have it, and at the same time reject the ways of this world with all its violence that causes millions of humans and billions of animals to suffer and die every year.
Letís continue with our discussion about choosing eternal life in this corrupt world as we look at Psalm 119:1-8Ö
1. How blessed are those whose way is blameless,
Who walk in the law of the LORD.
The psalmist is addressing those people who are living in the heavenly will of God and live by His heavenly love, the same way we are to love the Lord our God, which is also the same love that we are to have for the whole of His creation including every human, every animal, and the environment in which we all live.
2. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies,
Who seek Him with all their heart.
If we bring this verse up to date, the primary testimony is that of Jesus declaring that by loving God with every aspect of our being, we also fulfill all that we are commanded in the Bible, and this seeks God in spirit and truth.
3. They also do no unrighteousness;
They walk in His ways.
These are the peacemaking children who live in the Lordís heavenly will and bring it to earth as it is in heaven, and are a witness to Godís desire to free the whole of Creation from its present corruption.
4. Thou hast ordained Thy precepts,
That we should keep them diligently.
If we live by Godís heavenly will and love, we naturally do these things
5. Oh that my ways may be established
To keep Thy statutes!
This can happen to all of us if we are truly living in His heavenly will as a witness to the world.
6. Then I shall not be ashamed
When I look upon all Thy commandments.
If we are choosing eternal life, and follow the peaceful teachings of Jesus, we will naturally fulfill all of Godís commandments whether they are telling us to do something or not to do something, and if we consistently do this, we will never be ashamed.
7. I shall give thanks to Thee with uprightness of heart,
When I learn Thy righteous judgments.
I donít believe that doing this is quite as difficult as the writer seems to make it sound, because if we truly love God and His creation, we donít really have to learn His righteous judgments, because they will already be a part of our nature.
8. I shall keep Thy statutes;
Do not forsake me utterly!
If we hold fast to our unconditional love of God and the whole of His creation, and are committed to living in His heavenly will, there is no way He will utterly forsake us.
This whole psalm reads like someone who really wants to live in Godís heavenly will but struggles with living in the corrupt and evil ways of this world, to which he is drawn, and a lot of people struggle with this even to this very day.
In Matthew 5:21-37, Jesus talks about the struggles that most people have with choosing eternal life.
21. "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'
This is according to the law that was set up to push or persuade people to start choosing eternal life instead of giving in to the corrupt ways of this world.
The real struggle comes from not living in the heavenly will and love of God, and trying to work our way into heaven, which we cannot do, because without perfect love, we can never get it right, because there is always something more we should have done or avoided, as Jesus explains.
22. "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
ďRacaĒ is a term of reproach that is derived from the Chaldee reka, which means worthless; however when we put it in the context of this verse, "RacaĒ denotes a certain looseness in the life and manners of a person, while ďfool,Ē means a downright wicked and reprobate person.")
Calling a person names really denotes a lack of love in our own lives, and we really need to think about this when we get angry with someone.
23. "If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
In this context, I believe that everyone is our brother or sister, whether human or other animal, and therefore we must expand our spiritual vision to understand this fact, and realize that itís really a lack of love that opens the doors to almost every type of disagreement, from misunderstandings to wars.
We need to remember at all times that we are to be the peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be.
24. leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
It is far more important to be loving peacemakers in the world around us than it is to make any offering to the Lord, and from listening to Jesusí teachings, we believe that He is also speaking against animal sacrifice, for that is only scapegoating oneís sins on another who is innocent, and whose death can never take away any ungodly way of life; that has to come from our own heart and soul.
25. "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, in order that your opponent may not deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
The only real way of doing this is with love.
We need to love each other into the kingdom of God, while we are both here on earth.
26. "Truly I say to you, you shall not come out of there, until you have paid up the last cent.
These are the prisons of our own making that separate us from the Lord our God, and we need to tear down these walls and bars.
27. "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery';
This wonít happen if our heavenly love is unlimited so that it extends to the spouse.
28. but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This is a problem because it pertains only to the one who looks lustfully and unless it is carried out it remains in the mind of the lustful person; however, it shows a lack of unconditional love for God to some extent.
29. "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
I doubt that this is meant literally, because lustful feelings are a product of the brain and not the eyes, but the eyes do contribute to the lustful feeling of every human being including those with only one eye; removing one eye is not going to solve the problem.
Therefore, this must then refer to the fact that the person in question is putting their lustful feelings before God, thus making these into an idol, and this is where we need to seriously look at ourselves in order to be the person the Lord desires us to be.
30. "And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.
The answer or solution to this problem is the same as what we discussed for the previous verse.
31. "And it was said, 'Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce';
This shows a hardness of heart on one or both parties, because this kind of a separation is very cold and harsh.
If we love unconditionally, we will find other ways of solving our problems.
32. but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
This means in todayís world many people are committing adultery, and in many of these cases of divorce, they are brought about by the hardness of heart on the part of one spouse inflicted upon the other; this doesnít make it acceptable in the eyes of God.
However, there are cases of abuse and threats to a personís life that for reasons of compassion need to be protected, and the Bible does seem to address these cases positively, which leads us to believe that there are other reasons besides unchastity, and the individuals are sincerely choosing eternal life.
33. "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.'
This is probably still true, but as Jesus explains next, we donít need to put ourselves in this position.
34. "But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,
This requires our thinking in the heavenly will of God, and just doing what is right and honorable in the sight of God.
35. or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
In other words, if we live in the heavenly will of God, there is no reason to make any oath, because everything we do will be righteous in the sight of the Lord.
36. "Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Only God can make such changes, and again there is no need to make any oaths if we are truly living in the heavenly will of God, for as Jesus saysÖ
37. "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes' or 'No, no'; and anything
beyond these is of evil.
In other words, itís complicated to lie, because the more we do, the harder it becomes to remember what we told others, but when we tell the truth, we donít have to remember the untruths to keep our stories straight.
Honesty is part of living in the heavenly will of God, so there is no reason to swear by anything, and we believe that is exactly what Jesus is saying.
We should all be choosing eternal life and living in the heavenly will of God, for when we do, our lives become much less complicated, and we can have peace of mind.
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