God is urging us to make serious and deliberate choices to propel us toward the conclusion of His purpose. He requires us to commit and make decisions. In matters of morality, remaining neutral is not an option. The issues are sharply defined: obedience, disobedience; life, death; good, evil. He especially points out that He will not tolerate idolatry. Idols are useless vanities that people choose to submit to rather than the sovereign God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Six
God—by His calling, granting us repentance, giving us His Spirit, helping us understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and the revelation of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice—has brought us to a place that is spiritually identical to that of the Israelites after the Old Covenant was confirmed. Thus, this passage cries out to us with great forcefulness.
The world, and even some who claim membership in the church of God, tell us that salvation is secure once we have been justified by God's grace. They say that salvation from that point on is unconditional. If salvation is unconditional from justification on, why does God admonish us to choose between life and death? Why does He command us to choose to keep His law so that we may live and inherit the land? Why does God threaten us, His children, with the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15)? Are His threats hollow? Are they lies because there really is no Lake of Fire?
If salvation is unconditional after we receive God's Holy Spirit, then the death of an entire generation (except for Joshua and Caleb), lost because of faithlessness, is nothing but a misleading waste. God, then, expended over a million lives for no good reason. But I Corinthians 10:11 says, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
John W. Ritenbaugh
After Pentecost, Then What?
God Almighty has given man the power to make choices regarding his ultimate destiny. As a free moral agent, man has the awesome responsibility to choose between a hapless, physio-chemical existence with a dead end or a rich and rewarding eternity as a member of God's Family. Though the choice appears easy, the challenging road to the Kingdom of God dismays many because they are unwilling to undergo the rigors of the journey.
God has set before us the choice to obey or disobey, hoping we will choose obedience and giving us reasons and promises that persuade us to that end, but He wants us to make sure that it is our intention, without coercion or brainwashing on His part. It takes a free moral agent, making the right choices, to create the mind of Christ in us. Though He has a good idea how we will choose, God ultimately does not know what we will decide when given the choice. He will do all He can—short of rescinding our freedom to choose—to convince us to choose Him.
David F. Maas
Fasting: Building Spiritual Muscle
One of the Bible's greatest principles is "choose life." God sets before us two ways of life—His way and the wrong way—and gives us the freedom to choose which we will follow. He commands us to choose life so that we may live fully, both now and in His Kingdom, but we can opt for the other way of sin just as readily.
With the receipt of the Holy Spirit, we truly have free choice or free-moral agency. Before conversion, as the apostles wrote, we simply lived like everyone else, that is, according to the course of this world (Ephesians 2:1-3; I Peter 1:18; 4:3). Now, able to judge between the two ways of life more accurately, we have the power to decide to go God's way.
It is in our choices that we sin or live righteously. James is very clear that we do not sin when tempted but "when desire has conceived" or when we choose to act on it (James 1:14-15). The sin begins with the choice and continues with the act. Thus, all sin has a spiritual basis.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Sin Is Spiritual!
God wants us to be fulfilled in life by following His way ("choose life," He says in Deuteronomy 30:19). He tells us what not to eat and warns us against gluttony and overdrinking. He tells us when and where to worship and who to fellowship with. His law even covers clothing, strongly urging modesty. Its principles reach into every aspect of life. Israel has been unfaithful to things similar to this and many more.
God's way is alluringly confronted and challenged on every side by what the New Testament calls the "world" (Greek cosmos). Cosmos means an organized system, but one opposed to the way of God's commandment. Babylon, meaning "confusion"—confusion regarding a way of life—is the Bible's code name for that system. God charges us in Revelation 18:4 to come out of that confused system, and the only way we can do that is to quit practicing Babylon's ways of doing things in the worship of its gods.
Israel, however, lives for the moment and for as much immediate gratification as possible. As a whole, she does not believe God and is afraid to pay the costs to break away and be peculiar or distinctive in a right way. She finds it easier to be like everyone else and be willingly accepted on the world's terms rather than her Husband's.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Six): The Woman's Character
This scripture clearly defines an area in which we have a responsibility to judge: To choose life we must judge between alternatives. Most of the judging we are permitted—indeed required—to do involves judging for ourselves which way we should go. But our area of responsibility for judging immediately narrows once we move beyond judging ourselves.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Judging Our Brothers
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Deuteronomy 30:19:
1 Corinthians 6:9-12