Deliverance From the World

There are three things spoken of in the Old Testament with regard to the children of Israel, the truth of which applies to us as Christians, only in a far higher sense. First, they were screened from judgment by the blood of the lamb; secondly, they were separated from Egypt by the returning waters of the Red Sea; and thirdly, they were brought to God in connection with the sanctuary, as shown in Exodus 15.

The blood they were sheltered by, the scene they were severed from, and the One they were brought to, form a threefold aspect of the salvation of God, which is enjoyed in virtue of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Rom. 4:25.)

When the Passover in Egypt was about to be instituted, Moses said to the Israelites, "And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? that ye shall say, It is the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped." (Ex. 12:26-27.) There are three things presented in this scripture, viz., salvation, judgment, and worship. Salvation for Israel, judgment for the Egyptians, and worship for God. This is seen more clearly when the Red Sea's judgment flood was passed, and the children of Israel, standing on the other side, after the final overthrow of their enemies, broke forth in a song of praise to the God of their salvation.

The Egyptians had no slain lamb, nor blood-sprinkled doorway, and consequently they had nothing to ward off the death-blow as the destroying angel approached their dwellings. They had their many sins and, may be, more or less concern; but no substitute, and therefore no salvation. Hence when the redeemed of the Lord were singing, the Egyptians were silent in death. In their folly they had exposed themselves to the judgment of God, and consequently they were buried beneath the waters of the Red Sea. Death and judgment were the Egyptians' due, on account of their wilful sin and rebellion in the sight of God; salvation became Israel's due, on the ground of the slain Iamb and the blood-sprinkled doorposts; and worship was the Lord's due, because of what He had done, both for the glory of His great name and the blessing of His redeemed people. "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." (Ps. 29:2.)

There is also a fourth thing to which we desire to call the reader's attention. It is illustrated to some extent by that which befell the paschal lamb in Egypt, but is exemplified more fully in "the Lamb of God," for whom it is reserved, and to whom only it is due. Israel's lamb was both slain and roasted with fire, typical of the sufferings of Christ when bearing the wrath of God on the cross. Their lamb had death and judgment, in figure, as its portion, but nothing beyond. And is there to be no portion beyond death and judgment for the One that devoted Himself both in life and death to the will of Him that sent Him? He was seen by John in his vision in the midst of the throne as a lamb that had been slain, and the cry was raised, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." (Rev. 5:12 to end.) This (and much more besides) is reserved for the ascended Lamb of God, the glorified Man in heaven. The crowning part of His portion consists in the pearl of great price; and we also read that "God will give Him the heathen for His inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for His possession." In connection with this, His power and judgment will be displayed, and His name will be honoured, even by those who set Him at nought in the day of His humiliation. (Rev. 19:7; Ps. 2.)

"By faith," we read, "the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea as by dry land," after which the waters came together and shut them off from Egypt for ever; but entering upon the wilderness they were shut in with God. The appointed way of salvation for the children of Israel from the hand of Pharaoh and the land of Egypt was through the Red Sea, in which the death of Christ is presented in type; and when once the crystal doors were closed behind them, any attempt to return to Egypt would be in vain. But what are closed doors to covetous hearts like theirs and ours?

The Israelites left Egypt on foot, and afterwards returned thither in heart; an evident proof of which was given when they said, "We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely," etc., accompanying their exclamations of deep regret with sad reflections, with regard to the gifts of God, saying, "There is nothing at all besides the manna before our eyes," which signifies to us, "Jesus only."

In referring to the sin we have spoken of, and the judgments which overtook the Israelites as a consequence, the apostle Paul sent warnings to the Corinthians; and the apostle Peter exhorts us as follows: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (1 Cor. 10; 1 Peter 2:11.)

The first chapter of 1 Peter answers somewhat to Exodus 15. The heavenly saints are viewed in the former as being on the resurrection side of the sea. Resting on the blood of the unblemished Lamb, by which they had been redeemed to God, and with their faces toward their incorruptible inheritance unto which they had been called, and as a redeemed people saved by the Lord from the hand of the enemy, they commence their journey through the wilderness with a song, saying, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

Redemption gives the Christian the character of a pilgrim, and also changes the aspect of the world into that of a wilderness, on which he enters with girded loins and a staff for sustainment, which is nothing less than the power of God. And as the light of the future shines on his pathway, and the joy of anticipation fills the pilgrim's heart, he can unite with others and sing:

"We expect a bright tomorrow,

All, all is well."

The wilderness is a place of testing, and no place for the flesh to profit by, for there is nothing there to minister to its desires; and therefore, if we fail to enter by faith into the present enjoyment of what is beyond, declension of soul will follow, and our hearts will turn back again to the world. "The flesh profiteth nothing," and therefore the Israelites had not bettered their state in the least by changing their position in leaving Egypt for Canaan. They brought with them that which the Christian is supposed to have left behind for ever, as judged and set aside in the death of Christ, as we read, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Rom. 6:6.)

It has often been said that the world, as answering to the wilderness, forms no part of the purpose of God in regard to His people. It is important to bear this in mind. It was acknowledged by the Israelites in their song of salvation, when they said, "Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation." (Ex. 15:13.)

"Deliverance from the world," however, forms a most important part of God's purpose, as shown where the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of as the One "who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." (Gal. 1:4.) Deliverance from the world, as we have already seen, could only be effected for the believer through the death and resurrection of Christ. In addition to this, we find in the Epistle to the Colossians our association with the death and resurrection of Christ. It is the way God views His saints, as being dead with Christ, buried with Him, and also risen with Him, and this made good in the experience of our souls. We thus learn what deliverance is from this present evil world. In connection with the Red Sea we learn the value of His redemption work in bringing us to God, in order that we might joy in Him through our Lord Jesus Christ; but Jordan typifies our identification with Him as dead and risen. As we sometimes sing:

"Jesus died, and we died with Him,
Buried in His grave we lay;
One with Him in resurrection,
Now in Him, in heaven's bright day."

The effect of this truth on the apostle Paul was so great that he says to the Galatians, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Chap. 6:14.) In chapter 1:4 he taught them deliverance from this present evil world, and in chapter 6 he shows them how fully he had entered into it. It was not so with the Galatians, however. Association with Christ in death had brought the apostle to view himself as a crucified man in a crucified world; and with Christ as his Object, and participating in His risen life, he viewed the world from a new standpoint altogether. The heavenly vision on the way to Damascus had spoiled the apostle for the world, and the world for him; and the moral impress of the glory, which he received on his heart at the time, produced the desired effect with regard to everything under the sun, where the stamp of death is seen. The whole range of nature, and all the pomp and glory of this vain world, as typified by the lofty "cedar," the lowly "hyssop," and "scarlet," viewed in the light of Calvary, lost their attraction for the man that could say, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." (Gal. 2:20.) Such a man could no longer use the world as a parade ground, or place of display for religious flesh, for the practice of sin, or for conforming to it in any way whatever; but as being dead to it with Christ, and therefore delivered from it, he sought to be always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in his mortal flesh. (2 Cor. 4:10.) H. H.