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A Line in the Sand

March 31, 2019

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Joshua draws a line in the sand. “I am making a personal commitment to serve God.” Then he adds, “And this is how it is going to be for my household.” He is affirming a family value.

Clearly Joshua cannot make a choice to serve God for his children, but he can say that within his sphere of influence the driving vision, value, and commitment will be to serve the Lord.

The people immediately respond: “We will serve the Lord.” After all, these are God’s people. “Joshua, of course we are going to serve the Lord!” But Joshua is looking for something more than verbal agreement. He says, in effect: “You can’t. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins” (24:19). Why won’t God forgive their sins?

A few verses later, Joshua says, “Throw away the foreign gods that are [present tense] among you” (24:23). They say they will serve the Lord, but they have never parted with their idols. They refused to part with what the culture put in the place of God.

They wanted all the blessings of God’s covenant, but they also wanted to keep their options open. Joshua says, “That won’t work. This commitment has to be more than words. It must be a commitment of your life.” If you will not throw out the idols, don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you are forgiven.

That’s why the Bible says, “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). God has never promised to forgive a sin that you will not forsake. Where there is no evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in repentance, there is no reason to suppose that a person is forgiven.

Examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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