The Difference It Makes
Moses, then, had a very good reason for including the two stories in which Abram/Abraham lied about his wife. Their presence within Genesis is not evidence that the Pentateuch was created by the splicing together of several documents; rather, they are evidence that the Pentateuch was written by “a skillful author trying to teach his people the difference it makes to have a covenant with God.” That difference included a change in character. Because of this covenant relationship with God, because of this deep, intimate, personal, marriage relationship with God, Abram became more holy. Abram became more like God. Abram became Abraham.
Moses further told Abraham’s descendants that if they also entered into this marriage relationship with God, they would see another major difference.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love Yahweh your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.
Obviously, the people to whom he was speaking already had life. He was telling them that if they enter into an intimate relationship with God, they would obtain a better quality of life. They would obtain a life full of blessings. They would obtain a life free of curses (see Deut. 28). They would, in fact, obtain God’s life, for God does not just have life: he is life. To have this life, they must have God. Separation from God is death, but union with God is life.
The New Testament calls this better quality of life “eternal life.” Eternal life is not simply living forever, for those who are cast into the lake of fire also live forever. Eternal life is a better life, a life lived forever with God. And God wants each and every one of us to live forever with him. He wants us to enter into an intimate relationship with him. He wants us to choose life. Nothing would make him happier.
If we choose to enter into this relationship, if we choose to obtain this better quality of life, does that mean that we will live a life free from pain and suffering and trouble? In heaven, yes; on earth, no. Jesus told us we would have tribulation here on earth (John 16:33). But eternal life will eventually produce in us here on earth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). In other words, eternal life will make us better people.
That is because eternal life resides in the only person who has all of these characteristics: God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus does not just have eternal life: he is eternal life.
“I am the way, the truth and the life.”
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:11-12
To obtain this life, we must obtain Jesus. We must enter into an intimate relationship with him. We must become one of his disciples and accept his marriage proposal. When we do, our lives will become one with his life. This union eventually will change us until we become more like Jesus, more like God.
This is why Jesus said that eternal life is obtained only by coming to him. But he also said that we will not believe him if we do not believe the writings of Moses, for the writings of Moses agree with and confirm the words of Jesus. Moses said that this better quality of life is obtained by believing and obeying God. Jesus said the same thing: “Most assuredly, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Moses said that this better quality of life is obtained by knowing and loving God. Jesus said the same thing: “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). If Moses did not write the Pentateuch, then his writings do not confirm the words of Jesus. And if Moses did not write the Pentateuch, then Jesus is mistaken when he says that Moses wrote of him. How then can we believe that he is telling us the truth when he says that we obtain eternal life only by coming to him?
Thankfully, we can believe the words of Jesus. We can believe him when he says that we obtain eternal life only by coming to him. We can believe him when he says that we obtain eternal life by knowing him and believing in him. We can believe all of this because Jesus was not mistaken after all when he said that Moses was indeed the one who really wrote the Bible.
I urge you, therefore, as Moses urged Abraham’s descendants, become a better person. Choose Jesus. Choose life. See the difference it makes.