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Deuteronomy 30:19

aymon de albatrus
slave of Christ

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, [and that] ye shall not prolong [your] days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, [and] that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he [is] thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deu 30:15-20 AV)

These verses (specifically verse 19) are the war cry of the liberal theologians, especially the Arminians, to justify in their eye that salvation is in the hands of man and not in God’s. In other words humans are the ultimate arbiters of their soul salvation. This is typical of their doctrine and it is incorrect for the reason that here the verses speak in the natural and not in the spiritual, and there is no reference to the salvation of the soul but of the status of the body on this earth

Even if we are to take their interpretation we have no clear reference to salvation, besides the Bible must be in interpreted in its totality and verses that may seem to say something must give way (other explanation) to verses that are specific such as:

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Joh 6:44 AV)

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (Joh 17:9 AV)

See these statements by Jesus are absolutely clear and in them He states categorically that He does NOT pray for the world, and therefore these cannot choose God and only those that are elect can go to Him, for unless the Father draws them they cannot go and only the elect are drawn, see also Ephesians 1:1-14 (Act 11:18; 13:48; Joh 1:13) and many others.

Also only those that are His recognise His voice and go to Him and follow Him: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (Joh 10:27). Clearly all others consider His voice as madness and of course they will not choose what He is saying: “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Co 2:14)

We then see here two kinds of people, those who are of Jesus (and He prays for them and they are the called and saved) and those for whom Jesus prays not (these are the not saved).  Therefore how can Deu 30:19 refer to salvation? It cannot, for only the elect can choose salvation. The verse must refer to something else, and it does, it refers to the well being on this earth similar to the promise given to the children: “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Eph 6:2-3)

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; Here God plainly told them in express words what would be the consequence of obedience and disobedience to the Law of God; long life, and the blessings of it in the land of Canaan, to those that obey it; and death, by various means, and dreadful curses, to those that disobey it

Of course the Law has never saved anybody and hence salvation is not an issue here, but the physical well (or bad) being on earth as listed in Deu 28:16-68.

therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live; God here exhorts the Israelites to prefer obedience to the Law, and choose to perform that, the consequence of which is life (physical); that they and their posterity might live comfortably and happily, quietly and safely,  and constantly, even to the latest ages, in the land of Canaan.

Here they had an alternative of a good and happy, or a disobedient and miserable natural life. Love of God and compliance with His will are the only ways of securing the earthly blessings and avoiding the evils described. The choice was left to them, but urging upon them the inducements to a wise choice for a good earthly life.

Every man covets to obtain life and good, and to escape death and evil, desires happiness and dreads misery and Moses here concludes with a very bright light, and a very strong fire, that, if possible. What he had been preaching might find entrance into the understanding and affections of this unthinking people. He states the case very fairly. He appeals to the people whether he had not laid the matter as plainly as they could wish before them and concludes: I have shown you the way to obtain all the happiness you can desire on this earth and to avoid all misery. Be obedient to God, and all shall be well, and nothing amiss, says he.

The manner of his treating with them is so rational, so prudent, so affectionate, and every way so apt to gain the point, that it abundantly shows him to be in earnest, and leaves them inexcusable in their disobedience. And the same is God with all of us.

Our first parents were faced with a similar choice of obedience but they chose disobedience and ate the forbidden fruit, in hope of getting thereby the knowledge of good and evil; but it was a miserable knowledge they got, of good by the loss of it, and of evil by the sense of it. Yet such is the compassion of God towards humanity that, instead of giving them their own delusion, He has favoured them with an earthly life although not without sufferance and spiritual death.

And God in His immeasurable goodness decided to save some (the elect) to the spiritual salvation in Paradise and not to Hell. But it is solely by His Grace and not by any works (such as obeying the Law only): “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

So the conclusion of the whole matter about living on the earth is such:

If humans love God and serve Him, they will live and be happy (Deu 30:16). If they would love God, and evidence the sincerity of their love by keeping His commandments, if they would make conscience of keeping His commandments, and do it from a principle of love and obedience, then God would do them good, and they should be as happy as His love and blessing could make them.

On the other hand if they should at any time turn from God, desert His service, and worship other gods (such as money and personal gains) this would certainly be their ruin (Deu 30:17,18). It is not for every failure in the particulars of their duty that ruin is threatened, but for apostasy and idolatry, though every violation of the command deserved the curse, yet the nation would be destroyed by that only which is the violation of the marriage covenant.

The purpose of the New Testament is much the same: this, in like manner, sets before us spiritual life and spiritual death, good and evil. He that believes in Christ shall be saved; he that believes not in Christ shall be damned (Mar 16:16). And this faith includes love and obedience. To those who by patient continuance in well doing seek for the glory and honour of God, God will give eternal life. But to those that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness (and so, in effect, worship other gods and serve them), will be rendered the indignation and wrath of an immortal God, the consequence of which must needs be the tribulation and anguish of an immortal soul (Rom 2:7-9).


Verses Deu 30:12-20 do not refer to spiritual salvation but to physical life on the earth. Those that follow God’s Law are promised a secure, healthy, prosperous and long physical life. On the contrary those who do not obey the Law will be cursed with all sorts of evil happenings in their life.

Whilst eternal salvation is solely based on Grace and the God given gift of Faith to His people (Mat 1:21) in believing in Christ and His vicarious sacrifice for His own (Rom 10:9) and not on human works for there is nothing that men can do or give for salvation: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:26)

Praise be to God to the highest for His munificent Grace, Amen.