Life is made up of choices. We make them every day; we can’t avoid them. I want to suggest, however, that the most important choices we must make are often the least considered. The truth is that every choice we make has consequences, and some of those consequences have repercussions that last a very long time—some of them last a lifetime. And some of our choices have eternal consequences. There are three choices that God gave ancient Israel, that I believe are still relevant to us today in a New Testament context. Let me summarize them for you.
The first and most important choice was one communicated to Israel through Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19: “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 verse concludes remarks Moses made to Israel just before his death and their entry into Canaan. They are part of what is often called “The Palestinian Covenant,” in which the Lord outlined the rewards for obedience and the penalties for disobedience. The Lord implores His people, through their obedience, to choose life. The choice is the same for you and me today. God has set before us life and death. We are sinners doomed to die and suffer the penalty of eternal hell unless we receive the gift of eternal life through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is given by grace; we receive it through faith. No choice is more urgent or has more eternal consequences than this. Today, I ask you, will you choose life, or will you continue in sin and thereby choose death?
The second choice was likewise contained in a farewell speech, this one by Joshua after he had led Israel in their conquest of Canaan. Here’s how he put it (Josh 24:15): “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve”—as he explains, either the pagan gods or the Lord. He concludes, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Many believers seem to be content to regard their Christianity as fire insurance, and have little or no interest in actively, faithfully, consistently, and vigorously serving the Lord as part of a solid evangelical New Testament church, or as committed and faithful individual Christians. Again, there are eternal consequences, for the Lord has promised rewards to those who faithfully serve Him. Too many professing Christians, however, refuse to give any thought to the eternal repercussions of their lack of commitment and involvement in the Lord’s work. Are you actively serving the Lord, or are you preoccupied with your own life?
Finally, the New Testament Book of Hebrews tells us of a choice Moses made while still in Egypt, long before he began to lead Israel. “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:24-25). Those who have committed themselves to follow Christ must make the choice to renounce the world and refuse to live a lifestyle marked by sin. Moses, we are told, regarded suffering the reproach attached to Christ as better than the temporary pleasures of sin because he was focused on the eternal reward that would be his for faithful obedience. We are also to choose obedience.
So here are your choices today: (1) the choice of salvation—eternal life or death; (2) the choice of service—deciding whom you will serve, the world system or the Lord; and (3) the choice of sanctification—whether to renounce sin and the world’s lifestyle and live a life of obedience and holiness. The fact is, you have already made these choices. The question is, have you made the right choices? If not, there is still time to do so today. Remember, the consequences last forever!