Grace has been defined as unmerited favor. It is when someone gives something to someone else who has not earned the right to receive the gift. In Joshua 6:2 God told Joshua and the Israelites that He was giving Jericho to them. The city was a gift from God to Israel. It was given to them by the grace of God.
Yet, God laid down some obligations that they had to obey to get his gift. God’s instructions required that the 601,730 men of war were to march around the city once each day for six days. He also required that seven priests, each carrying a trumpet were to march around the city walking before the Ark of the Covenant. On the seventh day they were all required to walk around the city seven times. After the seventh lap the priests were to blow trumpets. Then the people, probably only the soldiers, were to shout.
The Israelites did not receive God’s gift immediately after he told them he was giving them Jericho. They did not receive his gift after God gave His instructions. They did not get the gift until they obeyed God. Did their obedience to God’s instructions mean that God did not give them Jericho? No, it was still a gift from God!
The walls of Jericho fell because of the Israelites’ faith. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days” (Heb. 11:30). Did the walls fall the moment they believed? No, they did not fall until they obeyed all of God’s requirements.
Did the Israelites earn Jericho because they marched around the city thirteen times, blew trumpets and shouted? No! It was a gift from God (Jos. 6:2). Did their acts nullify their faith? No! They conquered Jericho because of their faith (Heb. 11:30), and the city was given to them by grace.
Today our food is a gift from God. It is given to us by the grace of God. We demonstrate our recognition for his gifts every time we thank God for our food. Yet we are still told to ask him to provide it for us (Matt. 6:11) and we are still expected to work for it (II Thess. 3:10).
Our salvation is by God’s grace (Eph. 2:5). Just like Jericho, our obedience to God’s commands does not nullify God’s grace and our acts of obedience do not earn us salvation. If a person desires for God to save them by his grace, they had better find out what God requires of them to be saved! If a person has a desire to be saved and faith that God will save him, he will seek God’s salvation by opening the Bible, learning what conditions God has given to receive his salvation and then obeying Him.
God’s instructions did not end with the falling of the walls. There were things he required the Israelites to do after the walls fell. Just like Israel had responsibilities after the walls fell, we have responsibilities after God forgives us. After the walls fell, the Israelites had to enter Jericho and kill all the inhabitants. After we are saved, we have to thoroughly kill all the sins of which we have repented. The falling of the walls did not end the Israelites’ battle. God forgiving us of our sins does not end our battle.
The story of Jericho teaches us that Calvinism’s “saved by faith only” and “once saved always saved” are wrong. We have work to do to be saved and work to do after our salvation to remain saved.
Brock Hartwigsen, Carolina Messenger vol. 15, Feb. 2008, number 2
In Christ, Steve Preston