One of the methods that can be used to overcome an opposing force is to sow seeds of despair and hopelessness in the hearts of those who would otherwise fight. If the invader can discourage and demoralize the defending army and convince them that their fight is doomed to fail then the invader will probably win.
The same defeatist propaganda can be used to encourage someone to enter into an adulterous relationship. If the seducer can convince the victim that their spouse is a demanding perfectionist and that they can never be perfect enough for him or her then the victim is that much more likely to fall into the trap of a destructive relationship.
The masters of persuasion have employed this tool of defeatist propaganda in their effort to discourage a direct relationship with God and to encourage a destructive relationship with Jesus. Paul argues that the Law that God set down before us is an impossible law and that if one has violated one commandment then they are guilty of having violated every one of the commandments (Galatians 3:10).
In his effort to convince people of the hopelessness of observing the Law Paul quotes Deuteronomy 27:26. This passage expresses a curse against anyone who does not uphold the words of the Law to do them. Paul contends that this curse applies to anyone who violates any particular commandment. Since we know that man is fallible and imperfect it is obvious that every person will at some point in their life violate at least some of the commandments. This brings us to Paul’s conclusion that everyone is cursed and that attempting to observe the Law is a hopeless fight.
How do we respond to the defeatist propaganda espoused by Paul and the masters of persuasion?
In the same Book of Deuteronomy God Himself refutes Paul’s message of defeat. God assures us through Moses that the commandment He has given us is not too difficult but rather it is close to us in our hearts and in our mouths to do it (Deuteronomy 30:14). Paul recognizes that this passage in Deuteronomy undermines his campaign to discourage a relationship with God. In Romans 10:5-10 Paul presents an interpretation of this passage that can only be described as criminal. Paul uses this very passage that encourages observance of the Law as presented by Moses to discourage observance of the Law to entice people to enter into a relationship of faith with Jesus.
David and Jeremiah also speak of the centrality of obedience to God’s in our lives David says that God did not demand burnt offerings or sin offerings but rather He opened our ears (Psalm 40:7). The message is that it is obedience and submission to God that God wants and not a blood offering that is devoid of obedience. This same message is echoed by Jeremiah (7:22,23) and by Samuel (1Samuel 15:22). Paul presents the passage in the Psalms by inserting the word “body” in place of the word “ears” (Hebrews 10:5). Paul uses this very passage to discourage a direct relationship with God and as part of his insidious campaign to seduce people to enter into a relationship with Jesus.
The fact is that God gave us the Law as a gift of life (Deuteronomy 30:15). God knows that we are imperfect and that we fail (Psalm 103:14). God repeatedly encourages us that when we fail; which will inevitably happen, then the path we need to take is to return to Him and rely on His mercy. This is true both on the level of national transgression (Deuteronomy 30:2) and on the level of individual transgression (Isaiah 55:7). The curse for violating the law applies to those who rebel against God and refuse to accept His sovereignty over them and in no way does it apply to those who look towards God with sincerity and humility and with trust in His mercy (Psalm 37:11).
God is good and forgiving and abundant in kindness to ALL who call to Him (Psalm 86:5). We can be confident in the shelter of God’s wings. It is not in our own deeds that we have any confidence but it is on the abundance of God’s mercy (Daniel 9:18). And with God at our side we have nothing to fear (Isaiah 43:2). All of the propaganda of our enemies is like chaff carried away by the wind (Isaiah 41:16) and our refusal to enter into a relationship that violates our covenant with God will ultimately be vindicated (Isaiah 26:2; 49:23).
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal