This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off
In my devotions this morning, I was reading from Deuteronomy 30, and was startled by words in verses 11 and 14 that sounded almost like a Pelagian declaration of human ability:
"This commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off...."The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."Can you comment on a proper understanding of that passage?
Those who are regenerate have been set free by the Spirit of Christ to the bondage of "total depravity" (John 8:36, Romans 6:18). Bondage to sin is a characteristic of those not yet born from above. Now that you have been born from above and the Spirit indwells you, "God's commands are not too difficult for you, for everyone born of God overcomes the world." (1 John 5:4). This parallel passage to the one you have quoted in Deuteronomy reveals a new affection granted to the regenerate.
Isolated, the Deuteronomy Text has every appearance of a Pelagian declaration, but in the context of the passage you quoted it actually reveals the exact opposite. What does it say? The promise of God to them was "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live." (Deuteronomy 30:5-7). Don't know if you noticed this but this text is in the same passage you quoted. It is the indicative (grace) that the imperative (commandment) was grounded in. Their obedience springs from God's prior action in them. The Word is near to them and where you find the Word, the Spirit is also working in the children of promise. The Israelites had been set free and were in covenant with God. The promises of grace, mind you, were just as valid for Old Testament believers as New Testament believers, otherwise, like us, none of them would have had hope.
In the New Testament other parallel passages might be found in 1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:18.