For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land…
The doing or not doing of God's will, the obeying or not obeying of God's Word, is a matter of life and death to us. This is the simple and solemn and uniform testimony of Scripture from its first page to its last. The gospel, with its revelation of "life and immortality," only heightens the solemnity of the alternative. Instead of bare "life," it is now "eternal life" which is proposed for our acceptance, and which is lost or forfeited by sin. If "life" is the promise, the counter-alternative is death, and "death" accordingly is denounced against the sinner in gospel, as in Law. "The wages of sin are death" (Romans 6:23). Eternity is a factor to be taken into account here, as well as in the case of "life." Death, indeed, is not nonexistence, but it is the loss of all that makes existence a boon; the extinction in the soul of holiness, happiness, and love. Whatever the final state of the lost may be, whether one of active torment or not, it will be true death. The man loses his "soul" - his "life" - "himself" (Matthew 16:26; Luke 9:25). Oh that men were wise, that they understood these things, and acted on their choice as wise men should! - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.