Introduction: As Christians, do you tend to think of others as being worse than you? You will often read in these lessons that the purpose of the Ten Commandments is not to save you from eternal death, but to make your life better here on earth. (Plus it gives glory to God.) The logical application of this teaching is that we should be making a fairly successful effort to the obey the Ten Commandments. Is there a group of generally obedient people on earth?  Of course, it is hard to be honest about our own obedience. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible and see what it teaches that will help us to see ourselves in a clearer light.

  1.         No Merit For You

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:1-2. What kind of problems did God’s people face as they entered Canaan, the Promised Land? (The problem was people who were much stronger than they were. People who they could not, by any rational consideration, defeat in battle.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:3. What is the solution to this impossible problem? (That God will defeat and destroy those who live in Canaan.)

  1.         Look at the second half of verse three. When it says “so you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly,” does that mean God’s people will do it? (It seems to involve God’s people, but it is apparently a group effort – God is at the heart of it.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:4. Do God’s people merit being given this land? Can they claim victory based on being righteous?(No. Their righteousness has nothing to do with their victory. It is the unrighteousness of the Canaanites that is the reason they are being driven from the land.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:5. What other reason does God give for defeating the Canaanites? (A promise made to the ancestors of the Israelites.)

  1.         What does this suggest God’s people are saying about their victory? (They won because they are righteous, they are better than the Canaanites.)

  1.         Is this line of thinking still true – do we wrongly think that we are blessed because we are better than the pagans?

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:6-7. What kind of attitude do God’s people possess? (They are stubborn and rebellious.)

  1.         What kind of an attitude does all of this suggest that we should have? (We need to be grateful.  We need to obey and respect God.)

  1.         In Deuteronomy 9:9-24 Moses reminds them of all of their disobedience and rebellion against God.  The problem is that it was not these people who were involved in those activities, rather it was their parents who died in the desert. God and Moses know this. Why would they go through this past history? (Because, apparently, the children are not much better. They are infected by the same bad attitudes as their parents.)

  1.         Read Deuteronomy 9:26-29. What argument does Moses make to save God’s people? (God’s people are God’s “heritage.”  He redeemed them from Egypt. If God killed them in the desert, that would send the wrong message to the Egyptians. Plus, God promised their ancestors that He would bring them to Canaan.)

  1.         Jesus famously says in John 14:15 that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Is God telling us that we make His life better by obedience to His laws?  Or, is He saying that our love for Him spurs our obedience? Or, is it both reasons?

  1.         Read John 14:16-17. Are we left to ourselves when we seek to obey God? (No. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us understand truth.)

  1.         As you think about what Moses said about God’s people and their obedience, and what Jesus told His disciples about obedience, what does this suggest about our obedience? (It suggests that we need help! God’s people did not merit inheriting Canaan, they were simply less bad than the Canaanites.)

  1.         The First Falls

  1.         Read Ezekiel 28:12-14. Who is being described here? We see that he is called “the King of Tyre,” but he is also said to have been in “Eden.” It also calls him “an anointed guardian cherub” who was “on the holy mountain of God.” (I believe this is a reference to Satan. No earthly king would be described this way.)

  1.         Read Ezekiel 28:15. How did Satan become evil? How did he sin? (This says that he was created “blameless,” until unrighteousness was found in him.)

  1.         Read Genesis 1:26-27 and Gen 3:1-6. What did Satan and Adam and Eve have in common? (They were created perfect.)

  1.         Read Romans 5:12-14. What does it mean when it says that our sins are “not like the transgression of Adam?” (This text, along with the description of sin in Satan, and the description of the fall of humans, demonstrates that they were not created with an predisposition to sin, but we were.)

  1.         How is Adam “a type of the One who was to come?” (This is a reference to Jesus. This is further confirmation that Adam, like Jesus, did not have an inclination towards sin.)

  1.         Some Christians claim that we can reach a point where we perfectly keep the law. What logical problem do they face with that position? (We have three beings who were created perfect, yet they did not obey. How can we, who were born into sin, obey? We cannot. The result is that God is, like the situation in Canaan, dealing with people who are less than perfect.)

  1.         The Solution

  1.         Read Romans 5:15-18. How is it that we are justified? How do we become righteous? How do we obtain eternal life? (Through Jesus Christ. It is a free gift.)

  1.         Read Romans 5:19-21. Is it our obedience that leads to righteousness? Is it through our efforts that we have “eternal life?” (No. It is the obedience of Jesus that gives us eternal life just like the sins of Adam and Eve condemned us.)

  1.         Read Galatians 2:20-21. What does it mean to be “crucified with Christ?” (Read Romans 6:3-4. We are told that when we are baptized, we enter into “His death” and are “raised from the dead.” Baptism is the way in which we join in Jesus’ death on our behalf for our sins, and we join in His resurrection to eternal life.)

  1.         What does Galatians 2:21 say to those who claim that righteousness comes from keeping the law? (“Then Christ died for no purpose.”)

  1.         Is this saying that Jesus did a needless thing? Or, is it saying that what Jesus did does not apply to you if you maintain that righteousness comes from keeping the law? (The first part of Galatians 2:21 talks about nullifying the grace of God. I think the answer is that those who demand perfection in our works have nullified Jesus’ grace for their lives.)

  1.         Think about this for a minute. Doesn’t it seem a harmless overstatement to say that we must strive to perfectly keep the law? Is there any harm in additional obedience? (It is very harmful. It sets an impossible standard which discourages us from following God.)

  1.         I was an atheist for about five minutes when I was in college. I had just contemplated a statement about the need to conquer every sin. Since I decided that this was impossible for me, I might as well not try. It would be better to just toss the whole idea of God and His law and do what I wanted – since trying to obey got me nothing. I stopped being an atheist when I contemplated living without God. It was just too frightening a future.)

  1.         Read Romans 6:1-2. What does this tell us should be our attitude towards the law when we fully embrace righteousness by grace alone? (We don’t want to live in sin. We realize that God’s ways are the best for us (and for Him) and we walk (imperfectly) in His way.)

  1.         Friend, will you be honest about yourself? Your sin condition is like those of God’s people in Canaan. Your only hope of salvation is through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Will you claim Jesus’ free gift of eternal life right now? Will you aim to walk with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit?

  1.         Next week: Choose Life.