Focal Passage: Deuteronomy 14:1-2, 9-11, 19-23; 15:7-11
If a person is a U.S. Marine, one thing is certain, his life is different from that of most people. There is a level of discipline, respect, fitness, etc., that is simply not present in most other people. The Marine Corp has that expectation. You simply cannot be a part of “the few” and “the proud” and live like the rest. There are guidelines and expectations that you must live by if you are to be a United States Marine.
In a far greater way, God outlined His requirements and expectations for His people – holiness.
He told them why they must live different lives: “for you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God.” (14:2a, HCSB). God’s plan, seen in His covenant promise to Abraham, was to give His people the “good land” that He promised to them, and to use them as a light to the nations, demonstrating His glory.
For God’s people to receive this land and to dwell in it richly as God intended, they must walk with God, by faith, and “be careful to follow all the statutes and ordinances” (Deuteronomy 8:1) God set before them. But they didn’t.
In fact, they couldn’t. While the law could cause them to try to change their behavior, the law could not change their sinful hearts. Only God could change their hearts.
So, in the fullness of time, God sent Jesus to fulfill the righteous requirements of the law and to give new hearts to those who would repent and believe in Him by faith.
Therefore, when a person receives the grace of God in Christ, it changes him. As Paul says, “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
As a Christian, is your life different from those around you in the way you love, forgive, help others, and give? If not, ask God, by His grace, to change your heart. You see, the Marines exert external pressure to make you act different. God changes your heart to make you different. As those who have received God’s grace, through the power of His Spirit, be different!