Below is a brief excerpt from the first chapter (Concerning God and His Government over His Creation) of my forthcoming book, Change Your Mind.
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” – Deuteronomy 30:15-20
This is a statement from God to the Israelites by way of Moses. Though it has a particular historical and cultural context, there are standing truths and principles that have application to human beings in general. Such truths are the ones to which I intend to draw attention. First, there are two, and only two, ultimate options placed before the people receiving this information. With each ultimate choice, Moses states the positive and negative outcome. It is very important that we distinguish between ultimate choice and the product or outcome of ultimate choice. The positive product of one ultimate choice is life, prosperity and blessing. The negative product of the other ultimate choice is death, adversity and curse. I use the word product because life, death, prosperity, adversity, blessing and curse cannot be chosen directly. They come into existence as the result of a prior choice. The ultimate choice that produces life, prosperity and blessing is “to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments.” The ultimate choice that produces death, adversity and curse is turning one’s heart from God, not obeying His commandments, worshiping and serving other gods. God, through Moses, informs us of the right choice (“…choose life…by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, by holding fast to Him…”). It is, as well, quite obvious that human beings have the ability to understand the ideas communicated by these words and the ability to make the choice we are told that we should make. If one should doubt that we have the ability needed to meet the requirements of God, a verse prior to the passage quoted should eliminate this doubt. Verse 11 reads, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.” Moral guilt is a matter of “will not” in contrast to “cannot.” The elements of this passage provide us with a clear example of moral government. We see communication about right and wrong, about the outcome of each, as well as encouragement and motivation to choose right. It is also important to recognize that right moral standing is not merely related to external activity but depends upon the internal motive from which external activity originates (“…by loving the Lord your God…”).
 This distinction has tremendous significance in reference to the issue of repentance, conversion and salvation. Though there are a multitude of influences, experiences and ingredients in the process leading up to the point of repentance, the ultimate, climactic decision made in repentance is to LOVE GOD supremely. The decision is not to choose life, blessing, reward, heaven, salvation, happiness, freedom, etc. as entities in and of themselves. Everything associated with salvation (such as the list above) is the product of having a right relationship with God characterized by our love for Him becoming the supreme motivating factor in our lives. It is very clear in the Deuteronomy text that one can experience life, prosperity and blessing “…by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him.”
 Regarding moral obligation and accountability, God requires that we live up to the truth and ability we possess. As a way to help students grasp this concept I often ask, “Can you throw a baseball as far as you can throw a baseball?”