The Bible teaches that God’s desire for marriage, and the spiritual lessons that He seeks to teach through marriage are extremely important to Him. The Bible is filled with illustrations about salvation that are given through the lens of marriage. The Bible is filled with commands about how God’s people are supposed to respond to God’s purposes for marriage. This doesn’t mean that marriage is the most important thing to God. Marriage is simply a teaching tool that He uses to teach His purposes and promises. However, since God uses marriage as an illustration to reveal things about Himself and His promises, He goes great lengths to protect marriage with commands. God instructed His people about how to handle marriage and intimacy. God gave a variety of “do’s and don’ts” in order to ensure His people upheld the integrity of His illustrations through marriage and intimacy so that the lessons He sought to teach about Himself concerning oneness would not be corrupted; and His identity and purposes confused.
A variety of these issues can be seen in Deuteronomy 22:22-30. In this portion of scripture, Moses reminded the children of Israel about some very important matters concerning marriage, intimacy, and oneness that were intended to teach the people about the will and purposes of God. First, God addressed the issue of adultery. Since God considers idolatry to be equal to adultery (people cheating on God with false gods), the issue of physical adultery is a big deal to God! The command is simple: if a man was found lying with a woman that was married, both of them were to be stoned to death. God did not tolerate this sort of conduct amongst His people. God ordained marriage in order to teach the children of Israel about His desire to be one with His people. God ordained marriage to teach about the concept of individuals being spiritually unified as one so that His people would understand the manner in which they would be made one with Him. Adultery thoroughly corrupts the message that God seeks to teach through marriage. Should God be lenient concerning adultery amongst His people, it would illustrate God’s tolerance in spiritual adultery. God is not okay with His people having intimate relationships with false gods, idols, or people/ideas/goals that take the place of God. God considers this sin, and the wages of sin is death. Thus, God’s command against adultery is simply an illustration of a spiritual truth that had been in existence since the beginning.
God also commanded that if a woman was caught having willful sexual relationships with a man, and the woman was engaged to be married, they were both to suffer the same consequences. When a woman was “betrothed” in the Hebrew culture, she was to live her life as if she were already married – same as the husband-to-be. Though the marriage had not been finalized and consecrated, the oath that the man and woman took to each other was as good as marriage. Hence, a woman that broke the oath of her betrothal was guilty of the same sin as one who was consecrated in their marriage. In fact, according to the Jewish law, a man and woman that were engaged were already considered legally married. Thus, in the eyes of the Law, the man and/or woman was guilty of adultery. This is why God attributed the same devastating consequence. The people would not be able to get a pass on sin in light of a “technicality.”
In both of these instances, God emphasized the importance of His command by stating His perspective regarding adultery. It was considered “evil.” It is important to realize that this word is not the same as sin. While evil is considered sinful, the use of the word evil emphasizes the displeasure that God has for adultery. The Hebrew language has a word for sin – it is not used in the context of Deuteronomy 22:22-30. Rather, the Hebrew word for “evil” is used to describe adultery and sexual immorality of various kinds, explaining that these acts are in direct contrast to the holy and righteous God. The Hebrew language describes this evil as: wickedness hurt, trouble, affliction, adversity, harm, grievous, sad, distress, and calamity. This is how God sees all adulterous and sexually immoral relationships. This is why God called for immediate execution of those found guilty of these offenses. God wanted evil purged from His people that were to be holy so that His people would not be plagued with the affliction, hurt, sadness, distress, and calamity that results from adultery and sexual immorality. God commanded the children of Israel to “put away the evil” when speaking about idolatry, and murder. God looked at adultery, fornication, and other forms of sexual immorality in the same light.
Deuteronomy 22:22-30 shows that God was specific to give additional commands regarding these issues to show that His emphasis was protecting the integrity of marriage as a ministry tool God uses to reveal His nature and promises. God was not trying to damper people’s opportunities for pleasure. Rather, God was trying to protect the spiritual integrity of His people and ensure that their attitudes towards sex and intimacy didn’t cause problems He never intended for His people to deal with. Deuteronomy 22:22-30 also explains that if a man were to take a woman that was engaged and raped her, the woman was not guilty of evil. The man was to be put to death for his actions, but God clearly explained that the woman did nothing deserving of death. In fact, the scriptures candidly reveal the heart of God to show that He looks at rape victims in the same light as murder victims. Deuteronomy 22:22-30 explains that God was compassionate and merciful towards those women and was a seeker of justice towards those that humiliated, shamed, and destroyed the lives of women in this way.
Additionally, the scriptures cover the issue of fornication – specifically sexual relationships outside of marriage that did not involve parties that were engaged. God intended for sexual relationships to be the exclusive benefits of those who had been consecrated in marriage. Sexual relationships were intended to symbolize the union of a man and woman being set together as one. Since the physical sexual relationship was symbolic of the “oneness” between a husband and a wife, God did not want this act taking place outside of the marriage relationship. Sexual relationships outside of the marriage relationship corrupt the spiritual illustrations that God seeks to teach through marriage. Since God looks at idolatry as equal to adultery, one must consider that God considers fornication in the same light. Sexual intimacy within the marriage relationship symbolizes the intense closeness and oneness that God desires to have with His people. When sexual intimacy is taken outside of God’s prescribed relationships, it makes it seem as if it is permissible to have other spiritual relationships with false gods, idols, ideals, philosophies, or people that might take the place of God. The Lord is God and there is no other. Thus, spiritually intimate relationships with anything besides the one true living God is sin.
Deuteronomy 22:22-30 explains that those that are caught in fornication were to be immediately married. Those who sought to take advantage of the benefits of the marriage relationship had to be married. The scriptures are clear to show that God is not okay with people that seek to receive His benefits outside of His prescribed methods. One cannot have the benefits of intimacy outside of marriage no more than one can have the benefits of connection with God outside of faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, those that want the benefits of intimacy must be married. God’s command made sense according to His spiritual lessons. God commanded that the man caught in fornication must pay the father of the woman a dowry and then take the woman as his wife. Additionally, the scriptures state that those who went about marriage in this manner were not permitted to seek a divorce at any time. God would not permit His people to “work the system,” thinking they could have their physical fun, marry the woman to avoid trouble, then divorce her to extend their sexually immoral relationships unto others.
God’s purpose for marriage, intimacy, and oneness were clearly communicated to the people. When one examines these commands through the lens of God’s attributes and spiritual purposes and promises, it is clear to see the message that the Lord sought to communicate. His “do’s and don’ts” were not intended to be restrictive in a prude sort of way. His commands were intended to facilitate spiritual freedom as His people were made one with Him, following the commands that lead to holiness.
The manner in which one is able to enter into God’s heavenly kingdom has been simply communicated since the beginning. Since God dwells in His kingdom, one’s understanding of God’s identity makes one’s understanding of His kingdom and the qualifications to enter it much simpler. God is holy. God is righteous. God is eternal. This means that God’s kingdom is in the same condition in order for Him to reside in it. The kingdom of heaven is holy – absent sin and corruption. The kingdom of heaven is righteous – all things operate under the perfect standards of God’s will. God’s kingdom is eternal – God’s impeccable order and condition are sustained in that condition forever and cannot be corrupted. Therefore, in order for one to dwell in this environment, one must possess the required attributes of the environment that come from God. One must be holy. One must be righteous. One must be eternal. Since people are naturally sinfully unrighteous and temporal, then a change must take place for one to enter into God’s kingdom and presence.
The Bible explains that this change happens in faith. When one looks to Jesus as the Son of God (God in flesh) and the Messiah (the fulfillment of God’s eternally unconditional promises), one is “justified” from sin. Since sin is the chief factor that disqualifies all people from God’s presence and kingdom, justification by faith is the most critical moment in any person’s life. Justification refers to God’s willingness to forgive sins by declaring a person righteous. This does not mean that a person is “made” righteous. Justification refers to God’s declaration of a sinner being righteous even though they do not possess righteousness. God declares a person righteous when they believe in the Biblical testimony and claims of Jesus, even though that particular person does not possess righteousness, and is still a sinner. This is why salvation comes by grace.
God uses the marriage relationship to describe how this work takes place. When God first ordained marriage, He proclaimed that two individuals are spiritually made into “one” in marriage. Thus, when one is justified in faith and receives the grace of God in salvation, the Bible teaches that God makes His people one with Himself through His Son in the manner that a husband is made one with His bride. Hence, “the church” is collectively the “bride” of Christ since the church describes the congregation of people that have come to the Lord by faith, been declared righteous by the Father, and made one with Him through the Son in spite of one’s sinful condition. This is an important dynamic to understand. If a person is not made one with God, one cannot partake in the attributes that qualify and equip a person to dwell with Him in His kingdom.
This concept is communicated powerfully in the Law. In Deuteronomy 22:13-21 the Bible explains that God gave certain laws about how situations in marriage should be addressed. When the children of Israel prepared to move into the Promised Land, Moses taught the people about how they should handle matters of accusations within the marriage relationship. Deuteronomy 22:13-21 explains that if a husband accused his wife of being deceitful regarding her virginity, then the husband, the wife, and the parents of the wife were to approach the elders. The scriptures state that the father and the mother were to stand in defense of the wife that was accused of harlotry and deceit. The parents were to provide proof of the wife’s purity. If they were able to provide such proof, then the wife was to remain with her husband, but the husband was punished and fined for the false accusation against the purity of his wife. If the parents were unable to provide proof of the wife’s virginity, then the woman was to stoned to death by the men of the city. God stated that the children of Israel were to remove the evil from among them.
There are several important components to this law that reveals God’s provision for salvation and one’s admittance into the kingdom of heaven. First, one must notice that the subject of the law is the bride and her purity. Since the scriptures refer to “the church” as “the bride” then one must consider these commands of God from a spiritual perspective. First, the expectation was that the wife was supposed to be pure. She was supposed to be a chaste virgin, having no other relationships with another man prior to marrying her husband. Thus, God’s expectation for a pure bride is sternly communicated. The testimony of the law explains that the woman’s purity will be brought into question. An accusation will be made. However, the Law shows that the bride does not come to her own defense. It is the father of the bride that is to provide proof of purity. This is critically important to understand since the people of God are daily accused of impurity by the devil. However, the people of God cannot stand in their own defense, for the accusations of the devil are true. The people of God are not righteous. Hence, the people of God should not seek to stand before God to justify their own position as righteous. Instead, the people of God should rely on another that is more qualified to defend matters of purity.
The Bible teaches that the people of God are not made pure until they enter into eternity. Rather, the people of God are declared pure since they are declared righteous at the moment of justification by faith. Therefore, the commands of Deuteronomy 22:13-21 show that Jesus plays the role of the father, standing by His bride, offering proof of her purity based on His perfect testimony. The scriptures teach that the life of an accused bride is based on the proof of her purity. Salvation works the same way, except that the “proof of purity” comes from Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Though the bride might be accused of impurity and harlotry, the testimony of Jesus and the proof of the Holy Spirit suffice to please the Father and dismiss any accusations against her. Thus, the bride shall remain with her husband, remain as one, and spiritually speaking, be joined to God in His kingdom as an heir of His eternally unconditional promises.
On the other hand, when there is no witness to provide proof of purity, the wife is in big trouble. Should a person be accused of impurity and harlotry, a person lacking the witness of Jesus and the proof of the Holy Spirit is subject to judgment. A wife that did not have a qualified witness that was able to provide adequate proof of purity was sentenced to death. Likewise, those who stand before the living God, having been accused by the devil of impurity and harlotry, must have a qualified witness and adequate proof of purity, otherwise they will be subject to death as well – only in spiritual terms, death is hell and eternal separation from God. When one understands the holy, righteous, and eternal nature of God, this makes sense. Those who are impure cannot dwell with God in His pure environment. Those who are unfaithful – lacking faith – will not be joined to the husband as one, and will not receive the benefits set aside for the Son. Those who worship other gods, ideas, philosophies, or self in place of being faithful to Jesus will be guilty of harlotry, or “cheating” on God. Guilty people will suffer the consequences of the Law.
The truth is, the Bible explains that all people are guilty. All people are guilty as harlots since all people have cheated on God, worshiping many other things and ideas in place of God. All people are impure. No one can stand before the Living God as pure, which means that all are worthy of death, and consequently are disconnected from the One that declares God’s people as righteous. The truth of salvation is humbling. No one can stand before God as a pure virgin bride as required. Consequently, no one is qualified to enter His kingdom to dwell with Him. As the devil makes accusations, one must understand that they are true. However, when one comes to the Lord Jesus in faith and worships Him, Jesus is willing to declare the faithful as righteous in spite of the accusations. This doesn’t change the condition of the bride – not yet anyway. The people of God are still unrighteous, and the sins that all commit are proof. Rather, as one is declared righteous, one is joined to Jesus as His bride, and made one with Him. Being one with Jesus, one is able to possess the Spirit of God, which is proof that a person is one with Jesus, thus allowing the Father to see Jesus’ righteousness, rather than the true sin that one possesses. This is the magnitude of God’s grace! This is why self-righteousness is so terrible! This is why being connected to Jesus through faith is imperative, and why He is so worthy of worship!
Sanctification is important to God. The Bible expresses that it is important to God that His people are separated unto Him. The Bible teaches that it is important for the people of God to live lives that are different from the sinful and wicked ways of the world. The scriptures implore the people of God to distance themselves from the idolatrous practices of the flesh in order that one’s relationship to God will be unscathed. These things were so important to God that He exercised a variety of ways to communicate holiness. God sought to use a variety of points within the Law that affected various parts of the lives of the children of Israel in order to ensure that the children of Israel learned the importance of holiness. The scriptures show that God inserted lessons in holiness and sanctification in many different areas of His commands. God communicated principles of separation in numerous ways that reached into diverse facets of life. The reasons that God did these things is because God knew the foolish tendencies of His people and sought to provide tools to keep them from their foolishness in order that they could enjoy the benefits of God’s promises and grace to the maximum measure.
In Deuteronomy 22:11-12 the scriptures show that God gave two more commands concerning holiness, sanctification, and separation. Deuteronomy Chapter 22 lists 7 different laws concerning separation. Deuteronomy 22:11-12 lists two laws of separation that dealt with the clothing of the children of Israel. God had already talked about clothing to a certain degree when He commanded the children of Israel to abstain from dressing as the opposite sex. God also gave laws about separation and sanctification by addressing the ways that the children of Israel were to handle birds in the wilderness, how they were to build their homes, how they were to tend their vineyards and farms, and how they were to pair up the animals to plow their fields. Each of these laws contained different points of emphasis concerning sanctification and holiness. The commands of Deuteronomy 22:11-12 simply show that God wanted the children of Israel to be thinking about these things all of the time.
Deuteronomy 22:11-12 simply told the children of Israel two simple things regarding their clothing. They were not to mix materials. God did not want the children of Israel wearing garments of different sorts such as wool and linen mixed together. When one examines the practical application of this, one will have difficulty trying to make sense as to any practical benefits this command might provide. The purpose of this command is not a matter of practical application. The purpose of this command was to serve as a reminder. In addition to commanding the children of Israel not to mix the material of their clothing, God also commanded the children of Israel to make tassels on the four corners of their clothing. This is a reminder of a command that God gave back in Numbers 15:37-41. Thus, as Moses prepared the children of Israel to enter into the Promised Land, he found it important to remind the people about their clothing.
When one examines the commands of God concerning the tassels in Numbers 15:37-41, one can make better sense of God’s commands in Deuteronomy 22:11-12. The command in the Book of Numbers explains that the tassels were to serve as a form of reminder for the children of Israel. The children of Israel were to put these tassels on their clothing in order that each person would see the tassels on another person and be reminded of the Law. God knew that His people were weak in their flesh and very forgetful. Therefore, God commanded the children of Israel to put these tassels on their clothing so that when seeing the tassels, they could be reminded of God’s commands in order to abstain from the foolishness and depravity of their flesh. God specifically referenced the idolatrous habits that the children of Israel had. Therefore, the tassels were to remind the people of the Law as well as the God who gave the Law. This tool for remembrance was intended to keep the people focused on the Lord in order to help them keep distance from false gods, idols, and other affections of the flesh that could corrupt the relationship that God desired to have with His people.
The commands of Deuteronomy 22:11-12 show that God sought to just about everything to keep the people focused on Him. The Book of Deuteronomy began by commanding the children of Israel to love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul, and strength. Thus, one can look to the Law and see that God simply provided commands that would facilitate obedience to the greatest command. The laws of separation were simply tools that God used to ensure the people’s minds didn’t drift away from Him and His righteousness. When the children of Israel woke up in the morning to get dressed, they knew they could not mix their garments, and should have then remembered that they should not be mixed with unrighteousness, wickedness, and darkness. This thought should have then reminded the people about the holiness of God, and then seeing the tassels on the garments of others should have reminded the children of Israel about His righteousness according to the Law.
It is a good thing to keep the Lord in mind at all times. These Laws that God gave were intended to help the people do so. God gave the people a dress code with good purpose. While the Israelites might have looked outwardly different from other nations, God’s greater concern was the hearts of His people. He wanted His people to consider Him in their dress, in their work, in their building and development, in their recreation, and in the essence of their identity. The concept of God’s holiness is a massive concept to digest and one that is difficult to understand in the midst of a wicked and perverse world. God knew that His people could use all the help they could get. Therefore, while it might not make much of a difference in mixing clothing material from a practical perspective, and might not be very fashionable to put tassels on every bit of clothing, God’s focus was deeper than the outward appearance of His people. Hence, one can see that as God gave commands that touched the outward appearance of His people then, hoping to affect the inward condition of His people way back then, He has demonstrated in scripture that His focus has always been on the hearts of His people!
The nature of God is not like anything on Earth. When one examines the contents of this planet, one might find beauty, greatness, power, and marvels, but all of it is fading. The things of the physical world are dying. It is true that there is birth, life, and growth, but it is also true that everything decays, deteriorates, and dies. Expiration is inevitable in the physical realm – it’s only a matter of time. This is not an issue that God deals with however. God is holy because He is without sin. His perfect nature apart from sin allows God to be completely unaffected by the consequences of sin. Therefore, God does not grow old, does not decay, does not deteriorate, and cannot expire. He is eternally self-existing and His essence is impeccably good and right. The Bible teaches that the people of God are conformed into His image though faith by the power of His Spirit. Therefore, the Bible explains that the people of God should resemble one’s new nature as a new creation resembling God’s own nature, and should abstain from the characteristics of one’s old nature in sin through repentance.
While these concepts might seem typical of the writings from the Apostle Paul and other New Testament doctrines, one must consider that these things have been in the Bible since the beginning. God has always desired for His people to resemble His nature rather than the nature of the world. God is the God of the living, not the dead. Hence, God desires for His children, His offspring, His heirs, to resemble the quality of life that He gives rather than the decay, deterioration, and death that the world produces. God taught these things in the Law just as much as He did in the New Testament. This shows that the Law was simply a tool that He used to provide practical instructions for daily living that were intended to teach deeper spiritual matters. In Deuteronomy 22:10 the Bible explains that the children of Israel were not to link an ox and a donkey together as plow-mates. This is simple instruction that has practical purpose and HUGE spiritual implications.
When the children of Israel prepared to move into the Promised Land, Moses taught the people that an ox should not be linked up with a donkey when plowing a field. When one considers the basis of Moses’ instruction, this seems like a point so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be made. How would one even go about putting a donkey into the same yoke as an ox? The two animals are extremely different in size, in build, in shape, in weight, in ability and even in purpose. If God intended for donkeys and oxen to accomplish the same things in the same ways, He would have made them more similar in nature. However, their natures are completely different. A reasonable person would likely not confuse a donkey for an ox, and would likewise refrain from expecting them to do the same things and conduct themselves the same way. They are entirely different creatures. Since they are so different, Moses taught that they should not be used in the same way, nor linked together in work manners.
When one places a yoke upon an ox, it is usually with the intent to put the ox to work. The task that is placed upon the ox is usually work set apart specifically for the ox. Deuteronomy 22:10 references plowing specifically. Therefore, if one expects the task of plowing to be done correctly, one should allow the ox to work in the manner by which it was created without hindrance. One must understand that if one were to place a donkey in the same yoke as an ox, the ox will struggle in his work, and the task set forth for the ox will not be completed correctly. If the plowing that is done is done incorrectly, then the condition of the field and the crop is affected as well. Therefore, the ox must be linked together with other oxen since they match in size, build, shape, weight, ability, purpose and overall nature. The principle of Deuteronomy 22:10 explains that when a creature is yoked together with another that is different in nature, it will hinder the progress and success of each creature’s purpose and success.
The illustration that God gave in the Law is practical and reasonable. If one were to imagine a donkey yoked up with an ox trying to plow a field, the circumstances almost seem comical and certainly ridiculous. The New Testament scriptures explain that God’s command in Deuteronomy 22:10 is equally practical and reasonable in a spiritual sense, however having much greater consequences that are far from comical! In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 the Apostle Paul pulled on his wisdom of the Law to explain a monumentally important spiritual concept about sanctification and holiness. There, Paul wrote that the people of God should not be “unequally yoked.” This means that the people of God should not be linked together in work and purpose with those of a different nature. Understanding that the children of God are also heirs of God and conformed to His likeness, the people of God possess His Spirit and are of His nature. Therefore, the people of God should only be linked up in work partnerships and purposes with others that have the same spiritual nature. This does not mean that Christians can’t work for non-believers. Rather, this means that God’s people should not partner with non-believers in business or in any other relationship that requires two or more people to have the same purpose and motive for success.
Paul explains why this is so important. Since God is holy, He does not have the same nature as those in the world – especially those living in sin. Since God’s people are to be holy as well, they should not be governed by unholy motives and purposes. Non-believers don’t know any different. Since non-believers do not possess the Spirit of God, they will act in a nature that reflects such. They cannot be motivated like a believer because they do not have the same nature. They cannot have the same purposes as a believer because they do not share the same nature. A believer and non-believer cannot work together to achieve the same purpose just as a donkey and an ox cannot work the same plow – they are different in nature causing them to act different so that one form of conduct prohibits the work and purpose of the other.
Paul put it this way: What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
Paul intentionally made his point by speaking on subjects of extreme contrast. Righteousness and lawlessness are polar opposites of each other as are light and dark, Christ and Belial, believer and unbeliever, and God and idols. Each of these contrasts have different natures and no similarities. Righteousness is opposite of lawlessness. Those who seek to be righteousness must, by definition, abstain from lawlessness. Those who seek to be in the light must, by definition, come out of darkness. Those who seek to follow Christ must, by definition, forsake Belial. In order to be a believer, one cannot think as an unbeliever. If one desires to be the temple of God, one must remove all idols since God is the only one true living God.
Paul made this point in the context of Deuteronomy 22:10. While an ox and a donkey might both have 4 legs, their nature and conduct are completely different. One must understand that if an ox is expected to plow, putting an ox with a creature of such a different nature would hinder the purpose and success of the ox to do his job. Likewise, a believer that is ordained and equipped by God to serve His purposes cannot do so successfully when linked up with another “creature” that is of a different nature. Oxen and donkeys don’t do things the same ways; and the point of the Bible is that the people of the world and children of God don’t do things the same ways either, because God is holy and fills His people with His Spirit. If a donkey and an ox cannot be linked together in partnership, then how can the people of God with non-believers? Oxen and donkeys are different, but have some similarities. Yet it is understood that their work partnership would be futile. According to the scriptures, believers and non-believers have opposing nature. Hence, it should be understood that partnerships between believers and non-believers would be impossible assuming that the believer is submitting to the Spirit of God and living according to one’s new nature in Christ.
The Bible makes it clear – God thinks differently and has different purposes than the natural human being. His ways are not like human ways and His thoughts are not like human thoughts. Yet, upon receiving the grace of God in salvation through faith, one also receives the heart of God by His Spirit. One should then be motivated like God is and learn to think as God does as documented in the scriptures. One’s purpose for living should be according to God’s purposes, which contrast the natural human being. The Bible teaches that the natural human being lives according to self in order to glorify self, while the believer dies to self in order to live for God’s glory. How could these two types of people work together in unison to accomplish the same goal if each goal is in opposition of the other? How could two people with different purposes successfully meet at the same place? If two animals of a different nature cannot do something as simple as plow when yoked together, how then can human beings be yoked with other people of an opposing nature? Thus, the practical lesson of Deuteronomy 22:10 shows that the people of God should have no partnerships or intimate dealings of any kind with people, products, or principles that stem from the nature of the world since one’s position as a child of God means that one has been made new, bearing the nature of God Himself!
Separation for the purpose of differentiation is important to the Lord. The scriptures call for the people of God to be holy like God is holy. God is holy because He is separated from sin, corruption, decay, and death. Hence, God calls for His people to be separate from sin, corruption, decay and death as well. There are not resemblances of those things in God in any way, shape, or form, and God wants it so that His people do not bear any resemblances of those things either. The Bible teaches that when a person receives the grace of God in salvation through faith, that person is immediately made into a new creation. The grip of sin and death is not a controlling factor for the believer. Therefore, the children of God do not have to be governed by and motivated by sin, corruption, decay, or death. Rather, the children of God possess the Spirit of God and should exemplify the attributes of God as one progressively matures in one’s understanding of God through one’s pursuit of Him in the Word. As one understands God’s nature, one should more passionately desire to reflect His nature and separate one’s self from sin and wickedness of any kind. Part of this sanctification requires one to be different than the dark surrounding environments, shining the light of Christ, resembling one’s spiritually-regenerated nature in Christ.
God used various points of the Law to present and reinforce these spiritual concepts. God instructed the children of Israel to do things that were practically reasonable, but in ways that had spiritual lessons ingrained in them in order to teach the people about the importance of separation and differentiation. For example, when the children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promised Land, Moses reminded the people that they were not to plant seeds of different plants and trees in the same areas so that the crops got mixed up in the same field. In Deuteronomy 22:9 the Lord commanded the children of Israel to keep each kind of seed separate from each other. This point was previously made in Leviticus 19:19, and again repeated in Deuteronomy 22:9. God plainly stated that He did not want the seeds of the different “kinds” of fruit trees and plants to be mixed up lest they become “defiled.” Thus, while the command was simple in essence, the language shows that God had important lessons in mind, using such strong words describing consequence.
The point is simple. God made each type of fruit, tree, plant, and herb in its form in the beginning and then saw that it was good as He created it. For the people of God to exemplify faith in His provision and the quality of it, God’s people are commanded to leave the manner in which His creation grows as is. If the people of God genuinely trust that God’s original ideas concerning fruit, trees, plants, herbs, and such were “good,” then people would have no reason to intentionally mix up God’s order seeking to improve upon His perfect work. Therefore, God told His people not to do that. Each “kind” of plant and tree was created for God’s purpose, and each of those purposes were separate and different. He wanted apples different than bananas and wanted them to serve different purposes. Each is outwardly identified in dramatically different ways and serves different purposes that God ordained as good. Thus, the people of God were commanded to leave God’s order as He created it, and not seek to mesh that which God divided into other each other, thereby affecting their nature and chief characteristics.
These principles have spiritual application. When God removed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, He did so in order to keep them separate from sin, corruption, destruction and death. Hence, God wanted His people separate as another “kind” of human being, bearing different characteristics to serve different purposes than those of “the world.” As God did not want the children of Israel mixing seeds of certain crops together affecting their nature and internal makeup to be different than His original intent, God also did not want the children of Israel “mixing” with other “seeds,” thus affecting their nature and internal makeup as children of God. God’s intents for His people are good. Therefore, the order that God ordains for His people should remain intact and separated from that which can affect and alter its spiritual nature and composition, thereby corrupting God’s purposes and intents. Though the children of Israel were expected to separate lemon seeds from onions (and for good practical reasons), the children of Israel were expected to look deeper into these practical matters to seek God’s bigger spiritual purposes regarding their identity as His children and God’s own holiness!
The Bible explains that God is the God of the living and not the dead. He desires life and that more abundantly. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Since all of these things are true, God exercises His power, His knowledge, His wisdom, His sovereignty, His goodness, His mercy, and His grace in order to provide life and preserve it. In fact, when King David referred to salvation in Psalm 16, He referred to it as “preservation,” which makes God the Author of life AND the “Preserver” of life. According to the scriptures, God’s job is to do both. Since the hearts of all people are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, mankind is only able to produce darkness and corruption, thereby requiring a Savior to give life and then maintain its original integrity. Yet, one cannot preserve a quality of life that is infinitely and eternally “good” if one is corrupt or affected by corruption. This is why Jesus must be the Son of God (God in flesh) in order to be Savior. This is why the holiness of God is so important to understand. This is why God went such great lengths to teach His holy qualities through the Law.
In Deuteronomy 22:8 the Bible documents another command that seemed practical in nature to those who lived during the times of Moses and shortly thereafter, but also seems irrelevant to those alive today. However, it must be understood that there is not a single sentence, verse, or word in the Bible that is irrelevant to any person living at any time. God’s Word is eternal and is the method by which God has decided to reveal Himself to His creation in order that forgiveness of sins and eternal life can be received. Followers of Jesus confessed that the scriptures are “the words that give life.” Therefore, when examining the contents of instruction as written in Deuteronomy 22:8, one must seek to know how God reveals His eternal attributes and purposes through the commands He gives.
In Deuteronomy 22:8 Moses commanded the children of Israel about special considerations when they were building new homes in the Promised Land. The scriptures simply state that when a person sought to build a new home in the land that God was giving, they were instructed to build a “parapet” on the roof. A parapet is a small wall that surrounds a balcony or rooftop and is intended to act as a guardrail to keep people from falling off. The instruction that Moses gave was given to all of the children of Israel, meaning that every Israelite person was to have this safety measure built into their home. The children of Israel were expected to undertake the additional cost and work associated with building these structures because God was trying to teach the children of Israel about the importance of maintaining life.
The purpose of God’s command in Deuteronomy 22:8 is clearly communicated. God commanded the children of Israel to build these small walls in order to prevent bloodshed. God wanted the people to be protected. He did not want death of any kind, even if it was accidental. God’s intent in leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land was to allow them to live in a good land flowing with milk and honey, in order to enjoy the benefits of God’s promises. It would be hard to enjoy the benefits of God’s promises in the land of Canaan while dead. Therefore, God instituted these simple and practical systems that would help the people preserve and extend life. In the process, the people were supposed to learn about God’s perspective concerning life, safety and preservation.
The scriptures explain that God is holy and exercises His holiness to give life and ensure the integrity of the quality of life that He gives. God desired the children of Israel to be holy as well. Since God’s focus was on life, He wanted His people to be focused on life as well. While there might have been more cost and burden associated with building these safety structures on new homes, God wanted to teach that the cost and burden is required. When one looks at the scriptures to see how God offered eternal life and ensures preservation of it, one sees Jesus on the cross. Seeing Jesus on the cross, one will find the impeccable, sinless, righteous, and holy God hanging from a tree as a curse on behalf of sinners that were destined for death. If one wants to consider the “cost and burden” of ensuring a certain quality of life, there is no greater cost and burden than that associated with the testimony of Jesus Christ!
The lesson of Deuteronomy 22:8 shows that when one desires to preserve life, someone is going to have to put forth some kind of effort. If this effort is going to be put forth, someone needs to be considering the needs and safety of others and not only focused on one’s own well being. God wanted His people to adopt this way of thinking because its similar to His way of thinking. Thus, the scriptures show that God wants His people to see life and others in the same manner that He does. He wants His people to desire the same things that He does and undergo the same types of burdens and additional effort required to do the things that He does. The Bible teaches that when a person dies, cleansing is required because death is not of God, and by definition is corrupt. God did not want the dwelling places of His people to be associated with death and corruption. God wanted the dwelling places of His people to be safe places to life that facilitated the quality of life He desired to give. This required God’s people to think in the manner that God thinks, and go above and beyond to be facilitators of God’s will.
The Lord God is almighty and sovereign above all things. His purposes are not only superior, but also the essence of “good.” The Bible teaches that everything God does is right and good. This attribute explains God’s omnibenevolence. He is the source of good. He is the author of “right.” The people of God are to trust these claims from the Bible as true. The people of God are to examine the scriptures looking for the attributes of God, identifying His goodness as He deals with various circumstances, and then trust that God is able to continue operating as the unchanging and impeccable God. As such, one must trust that God is holy. The holiness of God refers to the “separateness” of God from that which is corrupt. God cannot be omnibenevolent if He is one with and affected by corruption – mainly sin. Since God is holy and desires His people to live in His likeness, He gave the command that His people should also be holy. Therefore, God gave various commands within the Law to teach His people about separation in order that His people would learn holiness according to the righteousness and goodness of God.
Some of the commands that one will find in the Law seem impractical to many people today because of the basis of the content. For example, in Deuteronomy 22:6-8 Moses taught the children of Israel how to handle birds. The scriptures explain that when a person came across a bird’s nest and saw the nest inhabited by the mother bird and her young (or the eggs), the person was permitted to take the small birds and/or the eggs of the bird, but was to leave the mother behind. The children of Israel were not to remove a mother from her nest leaving the eggs and/or baby birds behind. To some, this seems like a command that has little to no purpose in today’s day and age – especially to those who live in urbanize areas. However, it is important to recognize that God provided the Law in order to teach about His holiness, righteousness, and goodness. Therefore, one must look at all commands – even these commands concerning birds and nests –and examine its contents through the lens of God’s holiness, righteousness, and goodness.
The command that Moses gave in Deuteronomy 22:6-8 deals with “separation.” The children of Israel were to “separate” mother bird from baby birds and eggs and treat them differently according to God’s purposes. Deuteronomy 22:6-8 provides details that explain God’s purposes and expound on “why” the mother was to be treated separately from the young. The scriptures explain the circumstances of the command in the context of the mother bird’s nesting and nurturing. Thus, one should understand that God ordained the mother bird with a purpose. The purpose of the mother bird is to give birth and nurture younger birds. Therefore, the children of Israel were not to take away a mother bird from achieving the purpose that the Living God ordained. Hence, the needs of both the children of Israel and the bird could be met. The children of Israel could take the eggs and/or young in order to have their nourishing needs met. Likewise, the mother bird could be separated (not available for consumption like the others) from the children of Israel in order that she could continue in the purpose that God ordained for her.
God’s goodness is seen in this order of “separation.” Since the mother bird is “separated” from the children of Israel as an available source of nourishment, the mother bird is able to do the job that God created her to do. As such, the mother bird is able to reproduce, and further nourish more young, which actually is beneficial to the children of Israel, having continuous access to their own nourishment. Everyone benefits under God’s commands! Nevertheless, the essence of this command is rooted in separation for purpose. God was seeking to teach the children of Israel the importance of separation. If the mother bird is treated like the young and is made freely available for consumption or other use, then over time, those uses become endangered. The Lord desired the mother birds to be treated differently in order to teach the children of Israel that this sort of separation facilitates God’s order and God’s purposes.
The scriptures show that God has good intentions in His commands that deal with various forms of sanctification. The people of God were to trust that God’s Word was right and beneficial. The people of God were to trust that God’s ultimate goals are always good, and that the commands He gives to His people are helpful to His people to be involved with the good works that God desires to do. Additionally, the Bible explains that sanctification facilitates God’s purposes. Knowing this, the people of God can look at the simple commands that God gave concerning mother birds and their young and see that one that desires to be “separate” and “holy” like God, is also able to fulfill God’s purposes in salvation; and just like the mother bird, being separate unto the Lord’s commands enables one to spiritually reproduce (share the Gospel) and nourish those in need (encourage and exhort).
The holiness of the Lord is one of the most fundamental and critical concepts to learn about in salvation. The scriptures provide an incredible amount of information to show how God is not like His creation in any sort of way. He is far above all things. He is far greater than all things. There is no sin or corrupt thing in Him to any degree. He is only able to produce that which is good and right. Though His people are called to be holy like God is holy, it is important to consider that all people are unrighteous. Even in salvation, the people of God are “declared” righteous, not “made” righteous. This means that the natural heart cannot understand nor produce the holiness of God. In fact, the Bible explains that the natural person doesn’t even know the holiness of God. Hence, the Lord took it upon Himself to explain what His holiness looks like in the scriptures, leaving it up to the people of God to seek Him in the Word to know Him this way.
The Lord declared, explained, and exemplified His holiness and righteousness in the Law of Moses. The Bible shows that God gave a variety of commands that were intended to separate the children of Israel from the rest of the world in diverse ways. The Law shows that God gave dietary restrictions. The Law shows that God commanded His people to offer sacrifices to Him and not other false gods. The Law shows that God commanded His people to tithe and take care of their goods and possessions in unique ways. Additionally, God commanded the children of Israel to be separate according to the natural separations that He made in people from a physiological perspective. In Deuteronomy 22:5 the scriptures give a simple command that is profound concerning the faith and respect that people have for the way God created man and woman.
In Deuteronomy 22:5 the Bible plainly explains that women are not to dress like men and men are not to dress like women. In other words, the people of God are to resemble the people that God created, not seeking to be something different in rebellion to God’s creative purposes. When God creates a woman, it is with the intent for that person to serve and worship Him in the ways that a woman is ordained to do so. Likewise, when God creates a man, it is with the intent for that person to serve and worship Him in the ways that a man is ordained to do so. God created man and woman in similar fashion, both having similar challenges as sinners, but with different purposes in mind in how He uses them as vessels of righteousness. Therefore, God commanded the children of Israel to respect, honor, and submit to His will.
Deuteronomy 22:5 explains that those who offend God in the part of the Law are an “abomination” to Him. This is a strong word in scripture. The original language defines the word “abomination” as a disgusting thing, something that is unclean, and also something that is unethical. This word is used 117 times in the Old Testament, and is usually used in the context of idolatry. The Lord considers idolatry and the worship of false gods to be an abomination. Thus, those that seek to present themselves in a manner that is different and rebellious to that which God created is considered an abomination and equal to idolatry and false-god worship.
This subject is obviously a big deal to God. When God creates a woman, He desires her to be a woman and not a man. When God creates a man, He desires that person to be a man and not a woman. Therefore, those who seek to alter their appearance and presentation are ultimately found in rebellion against God, His purposes, and His power. This is the same kind of mindset and heart condition that the Bible says idolaters have. Hence, this is why the scriptures explain that God sees it as an abomination, equal to idolatry and false-god worship. God is sovereign, almighty, and is the source of all goodness and righteousness. When He creates men as men and women as women, one must trust that God knows what He’s doing as the omnipotent, omnibenevolent, righteous and holy God. Those that seek to change His order, especially within one’s self, are reflective of those that despise God’s purposes, God’s processes, and ultimately God and His promises.
Since God is supremely sovereign as the Lord of lords, one cannot expect God to respond favorably towards those who oppose Him this way. While everyone receives a tremendous amount of mercy from God, and can freely receive God’s grace at any time, those who reject such offers and seek to live as an abomination against God will be treated as something disgusting and unclean in the sight of the Lord, and kept at distance from Him and His kingdom. The Living God created men and women with the intent for each one to be “separate” as different “kinds” of living beings that are able to do different types of things for His glory. It is true God commanded the children of Israel to be “separate” from the ways of the world in order to provide a good witness of His righteousness and holiness. However, it is also true that He wanted each individual to submit to His will according to the individual circumstances He ordained for each and every person. God desires to do a good work within the people He created, transforming them into the image of His Son through sanctification. However, God desires to do that work by transforming the nature of the person He created. He does not want us to produce our own change since people cannot produce anything good apart from God. Those that seek to do so are seen as rebellious abominations in the eyes of God.
The Bible teaches that the Lord God is incredibly gracious to take care of His people. Knowing the weaknesses of His people, the Lord reveals Himself in scripture as the One that is able to make up the difference for all of the shortcomings that every human being has. God is not only the source of all basic provision, but also a helper and friend in time of need – even to those who do not seek Him! The Bible teaches that God is kind and selfless, and these attributes were ultimately shown through Jesus’ death on the cross, which the scriptures define as “love.” God tangibly revealed His grace, kindness, goodness, mercy, greatness and glory through Jesus as “love.” Hence, “love” is the revelation of God’s own attributes through Jesus as God in flesh for the purpose of salvation. This is important to know since the two greatest commandments are based on this principle. The greatest commandment is predicated on God’s people “loving” Him with everything we have. This means that the people of God are to worship God by reflecting the characteristics of His Son back to Him through faith, equipped by His Spirit. Jesus taught that the second command is like this – that one should “love” one’s neighbor as one’s self. This means that God desires His people to reveal His character and nature to others in the manner that Christ did. He calls this “love.”
When Jesus taught on these two great commands of the Father, He wasn’t teaching new concepts. In fact, He was teaching from the Book of Deuteronomy. There are many places where the Lord commanded His people to take care of one another in the manner that He takes care of people. Thus, when one examines these commands, one must understand that God’s desire is for His people to reflect His nature to others in the form of “love.” This can be seen in Deuteronomy 22:1-4. In this portion of scripture Moses taught the children of Israel how to appropriately help one another keep track of possessions and animals. Here, Moses taught the people that if a person’s sheep or ox or donkey was found going astray, the person who saw the stray animal was to make efforts to help. They were to do the best they could to retrieve the animal and take care of the animal until the owner could come back and claim it. Moses taught the people that they should seek to take care of the possessions of others as they would desire other to take care of their own possessions.
The point of Deuteronomy 22:1-4 is to emphasize stewardship and responsibility. Moses not only taught the children of Israel to take care of the possessions of others, but also to embrace the responsibility to do so. This portion of scripture shows that Moses told the people, “do not hid yourself” three times in these four verses. In other words, the people were not to run away from or avoid the opportunity to help a person in need. The scriptures show that it was the duty of the people to help each other in this way. The people were supposed to take on the responsibility to help maintain and keep the possessions of others if others were in need, understanding that all of the possessions were ultimately the Lord’s. The children of Israel were not to hide from this responsibility simply because God does not hide from this responsibility. When the people of God are in need, the Lord is there to help His children. The Lord doesn’t get lazy. The Lord does not fear failure. The Lord is not so consumed in His own affairs that He is unwilling or unable to notice the needs of others. The Lord is only focused on the needs of others and according to the scriptures, He desires His people to think along the same lines.
The scriptures also show that the help God’s people were to offer one another was to be high quality help. Deuteronomy 22:1-4 explains that if a person should find an ox, sheep, donkey, or even a garment of another person, they were to keep it and tend to it as if it were their own. They weren’t to treat it as some unwanted or despised thing. They were to be good stewards of that which belonged to another. This was another important spiritual lesson that the Lord sought to teach His people. Since all things belong to Him, every person is ultimately a steward of God’s own possessions. The commands of Deuteronomy 22:1-4 show that God wanted to teach the people good habits about how to examine possessions. He wanted them to take care of them responsibly. He wanted them to ensure their integrity. He wanted them to focus on the opportunity to return the possessions of another to their rightful owner and master in a good condition in order that the owner and master would be pleased and thankful. Since God is also the “Master” of His people, He desires that His people examine the possessions that He entrusts to them in a way that His people desire to take good care of His things, seeking the opportunity to ensure their integrity and return them in good condition to the Master, later hearing “Well done good and faithful servant!”
While the work of Jesus as Savior seems simple, the Bible shows that it is actually the fulfillment of a very complex plan that the Father orchestrated since before the worlds were formed. It is true that Jesus simply died for the sins of the world. However, the scriptures provide an INCREDIBLE amount of information to explain why that was necessary, how Jesus was qualified, and why the manner of His death was required. Being saved from sin, death, and hell through faith in the identity and purpose of Jesus is one thing. Understanding one’s salvation by understanding “how” and “why” is something totally different! There are plenty of people that believe upon Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah, as God in flesh and Savior, but never pursue an understanding of His essence by the Word. Unfortunately, the Bible teaches that those people, while saved from wrath, are never in position to actually enjoy and fulfill their salvation. While they’ve been rescued from destruction, the Word through understanding does not continually draw them into the presence of God. Those who seek to know how and why God did His work and made it effective through the testimony of Christ in the Word are those whom the Spirit imparts understanding, purpose, functionality, and incredible joy; leveraging this understanding to draw maturing believers into the presence of God by showing His essence through the Bible.
With that said, one must look to the commands and testimonies of scripture to see where the Father reveals the purposes for His work. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand why Jesus is the Son of God and Messiah. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand why Jesus’ purpose was founded in death and the shedding of blood through sacrifice. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand how the death of Jesus satisfies the wrath of the Father. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand how Jesus was able to raise from the dead. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand why people cannot escape the judgment and wrath of God on the basis of their own merits. Studying the scriptures this way helps one understand how salvation by faith actually works, ultimately giving one a greater appreciation for the salvation one has freely received because of the identity and work of the Savior – Jesus Christ!
In Deuteronomy 21:22-23 the Bible explains a very simple point from a practical perspective. However, this point that God gave within the Law had HUGE prophetic implications that explain the manner and purpose of Jesus’ work on the cross. As Moses taught the children of Israel while they made preparations to enter into the Promised Land, he gave them a simple command about how to handle the bodies of those who were executed on account of sin. The Law gave specific instances in which a person should be put to death on account of particular sins that God mentioned. Deuteronomy 21:22-23 explains that when a person was executed by being “hung on a tree,” they were to be taken down before the evening. A body was not to be left hanging on a tree over night. The reason for this was because Moses stated that those who were hung on tree were “cursed of God.”
It is important to consider the context of this statement and the magnitude of it. Moses taught that those who were hung on trees in judgment were “cursed of God.” However, there is only one place in scripture where “hanging on a tree” is mentioned in the context of the Law to show why such a position is so offensive and “cursed.” In Numbers 25:1-4 the Bible explains that the children of Israel were staying in the Acacia Grove and linked up together with the women of Moab. Upon doing so, many of the men began practicing the harlotry and idolatry of the Moabites so that God was severely offended and angered. There, God told Moses to take the elders of Israel that were joined to the women of Moab and bowed down to their gods, and hang them. God told Moses to hand the offenders “before the Lord, out in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” The Lord commanded Moses to hang the people “before the Lord,” which means that hanging them was a sort of presentation of judgment. God wanted the children of Israel to see the suspended bodies of the idolaters to prove a point. As the lifeless bodies of those offenders hung between heaven and earth, the point was that their lives were not worthy to live in either place because of their harlotry and idolatry. Therefore, they were “cursed.”
Those who were hung on a tree amongst the congregation of Israel were people that were unworthy of God and unworthy of earth. They were people that were denounced by God from both this world and His kingdom. While Deuteronomy 21:22-23 explained that those who were hung on trees were cursed of God, the Lord did not want this display to be lasting. While God sought to teach the people important lessons concerning His holiness, righteousness, and sin, God did not want the lesson to be at the expense of the land. Moses taught the people that when a person was hanged on a tree, they were to be taken down that day. God did not want the children of Israel to be identified by curses. God did not want the children of Israel to get in the habit of proudly displaying the affects of curses. God did not want the children of Israel to grow comfortable with the ideas of curses. Therefore, those who were cursed were to serve their punishment according to God’s commands, and swiftly be taken down in order that the land would not be defiled by the curse of the person hung.
This is the practicality of the Law. The meaning of it is further explained in the Book of Galatians as the Apostle Paul tied the contents of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 to the death of Jesus. The scriptures explain that Jesus was killed by crucifixion. Galatians 3:13 explains that Jesus was indeed crucified, but was ultimately “hung on a tree.” Historians have confirmed that it was common for the Romans to crucify people by using trees as the support bases on which the cross beams were mounted. Whether He was crucified this way, or in the ways that people have seen traditionally illustrated, one can verify that as Jesus was hung on the essence of a tree by being mounted to the wooden structure of the cross. This truth has incredible implications! According to Deuteronomy 21:22-23, those who were hung on trees in judgment were cursed of God. Since Jesus was hung on a tree through the crucifixion, He too was accursed by God! Jesus, God in flesh, was accursed by the Father in order to pay for the sins of the world!
Though one might consider this to be an impossible work, the Bible explains this as a necessary work in order for people to be saved from the judgment and wrath of God. Galatians 3:10-14 explains that all people are offenders of God’s Law, which states God’s impeccable standards of righteousness. The scriptures show that those who are not able to keep “all of the things which are written in the book of the Law to do them” are indeed cursed. This means that, in order for a person to be righteous apart from faith in Jesus Christ, one must keep and do ALL of the things that are written in the Law to perfection. Then and only then will one be considered righteous before God. However, when a person is an offender in one point of the Law, that person is an offender in all points of the Law. Since it is impossible to keep all points of the Law, then all people are offenders of the Law in total, and thus considered unrighteous AND cursed! This is bad news for all people.
When one considers the judgment of God in Numbers 25:1-4, God was communicating a message concerning those who are “cursed.” Those who are cursed are not worthy of this life, or life in the presence of God, and so are killed by being suspended in between heaven and earth, finding no rest or dwelling in either place. This is symbolic of the second death one is expected to face in eternal separation from God in hell. Extrapolating this thought, one must come to the conclusion that those who are cursed are those who are destined for the judgment and wrath of God and will be ultimately separated from Him. According to Galatians 3:10-14, all people are offenders of the Law, and ultimately cursed by the Law. According to the Bible, those who seek to please God by the basis of their own efforts, works, and self-defined righteousness are cursed, and condemned to judgment, wrath, and eternal separation from God and the life that He desires to give. Once again, this is bad news for all people.
Here is the good news: Jesus came into the world as God in flesh so that He could serve as a substitute for all people who believe! Before mankind was even created, God promised to deal with sin, darkness, and the devil since mankind was unqualified to do so. The Law proves God right – mankind cannot demonstrate the righteousness of God. Therefore, the work of Jesus serves as the fulfillment of the Father’s promises, which makes Jesus the Messiah. Since He is God in flesh, His death is sufficiently valuable to help all of those who desire to be helped. Here is how this works. Under God’s standards of righteousness as communicated in the Law of Moses, all people are cursed. However, Jesus came as God in flesh, continually possessing the righteousness of God even while in flesh. He came specifically for the purpose of dying a death that would classify Him as a curse. The crucifixion of Jesus was God’s plan since the beginning so that the command of Deuteronomy 21:22-23 serves more as a prophetic requirement of Messiah than practical application for the children of Israel.
Jesus surrendered Himself to the cross in order that He could be judged as a curse! Though He was perfect as God in flesh, He submitted Himself, not only to death, but a death that identified Him as a curse. Why would Jesus do this? According to the Bible, Jesus death was a sacrifice by substitution. Since all people are cursed, His death cannot be truly substitutionary unless His death comes in the manner that cursed people would be judged. His death came as a curse in order that there could be an exchange – Jesus’ life for the lives of God’s people identified by faith. Since Jesus death was an exchange by substitution, it is referred to as redemption. As one would give money to purchase an item, it is customary for one to exchange the value of money that is equal to the value of the goods being purchased. The substitutionary death of Jesus is no different. Thus, the better one understands one’s own identity as “a curse,” the more one appreciates the redeeming death of Jesus to take one’s place!
The truth is, the Father made INCREDIBLY AWESOME eternally unconditional promises that are freely available to all people. Yet the only way to partake in the benefits of such promises is to be in the presence of God. The only way to be in the presence of God is to have peace with God. The only way to have peace with God is to have one’s sins purged, being cleansed, and having the righteousness of God. According to the Bible, no one is able to meet this standard, disqualifying all people from the promises of God. However, God knowing this, took it upon Himself to solve this impossible problem since all things are possible with God. He took the form of flesh and died the death that all people deserved to die. Those who believe that Jesus is God in flesh, able to fulfill His eternally unconditional promises, and humbly look to His death as sufficient to cleanse one of unrighteousness, satisfying the wrath of God that all people deserve, will indeed be saved from sin, death, and hell!
It is true that those who are hung on a tree are cursed. According to scripture, it is true that all people deserve to be hung on trees as idolaters and offenders of God’s standards of righteousness. Thankfully, according to God’s Word, He took the form of flesh to die the death of one that is cursed in order that those who are cursed don’t have to die. God has provided a way of escape, and those who look to Jesus, trusting the claims of scripture regarding His identity and testimony are guaranteed forgiveness, eternal life, and all of the benefits that come with the fulfillment of His promises!