Paul had just explained why some men in the Old Testament had tempted God and griped against Moses, presuming that God would not do anything to them; after all, they were part of the chosen people. However, God sent a plague that killed 14,700 (Num 16:41, 49).
Paul just said these stories “were written for our admonition” (10:11). They reveal to us God’s patience and compassion and His wrath—-we are expected to take them seriously.
God’s motive for recording the stories of Israel’s beginnings was for our “admonition” 3,500 years later! Gentile Christians would need to learn the history of Israel to know these valuable lessons. If we fail to learn them, we are condemned to repeat Israel’s mistakes and suffer the same consequences.
“So” ties the previous verses with the present command: “Let the one who thinks he is standing be continually careful that he does not fall.” To fall in the Old Testament meant “to die” (Num 14:3). Is a loving God capable of killing people today? It is a horrible thought, but we are warned in 1 John 5:16, “There is sin leading to death.”
Those who presume to have a relationship with Christ because of what they do or accomplish may know nothing of God’s word and have little interest in being obedient to His commands. Do you really know Him if you never pay attention to Him? The real question is, does He know you?
Faith is based on knowledge of the word of God and a commitment to trust and obey what it says. If you are merely trusting in being good, beware: you may not be standing at all! “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Faith is trust in biblical truth.
The true believer, likewise, needs to “continually be taking heed” that his faith and lifestyle are built on the word of God. The fear of God’s chastisement is extremely healthy. Believe it and take heed!
“Dear Father, keep me from spiritual pride. Humble my heart to understand and obey the instructions of Your word each day.”