The Promised Land was the place God had always envisioned for His people. He told Abraham that “All the land you see I will give to you and your descendents forever.” Genesis 13:15. Even though many did not ever see it because of disobedience and unbelief, it was His purpose to lead them there. In the same way it is God’s purpose to lead the Christian to a life that is full of faith and rest, even though there will be battles and hardships. But some will not enter into that experience because of disobedience and unbelief.
Sometimes we try to bring about the victory by putting ourselves under legal constraints. In other words we try to bring the law to bear on our lives with the hope that this can accomplish what God desires.
The problem with this is that it doesn’t work. In the Old Testament story, we’re told that Moses is dead. Joshua now is to lead the people. John 1:17 tells us that the law came through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. The name Joshua is basically the same name as Jesus so we have the picture of Moses as representing the law being dead before the life of victory is entered.
That makes for nice illustrations, but is there reality to that in Scripture? I Corinthians 15:56 says “The sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law.” We find, then, that sin’s strength is found in the law. So if you try to enter a life of victory and try to empower it by bringing more law into your life, you actually empower sin in the process.
Romans 7:5 states, “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.”
And then in verse 7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.”
So here again we see that even though the law is holy and the commandment just and good, it enlivens our sin and brings death.
Scripture gives a completely different answer for bringing a fruitful and victorious life. Bringing the law into it does not accomplish it. According to Colossians 2:23 we’re told that even though such legalistic endeavors “have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”As we proceed through this study of Joshua, we’ll see that God has an entirely different approach to providing the victory and peace we seek.