Free indeed

Written by Charles Ekong

18/03/2024

Salvation is an oft-used word in Christian circles. Many associate it with an individual or a group of people publicly committing to follow Jesus, usually in front of an altar. But in the Bible, salvation encompasses deliverance, rescue, safety, prosperity, victory, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, incurring divine favour and deliverance from every adversary. So, when David says: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” [Psalm 27:1]. He’s boasting because he knows God has him covered on all sides. The Bible infers that a person in need of salvation is a captive, and such a person needs another stronger than his captor to save him [Mark 3:27]. 

I’ve observed that some are more desperate for a saviour than others, though I suspect very few know what it is to be genuinely free of every manner of oppression. We often lack an understanding of true freedom because we rarely see a truly free person. So, as long as our captors aren’t too hostile and our circumstances aren’t too oppressive, we don’t mind the captivity too much. Breaking free from bondage requires some participation on the part of the captive. But if captivity is comfortable, the captive is less inclined to make that effort. However, if your affliction is great, and your captors are cruel, you’ll cry out for a saviour like the descendants of Jacob did in Egypt [Exodus 3:8]. For those who turn to the God of the Bible in their plight, the story of Israel’s deliverance from captivity in Egypt is God’s template for salvation – a foreshadowing of the salvation available today in Jesus Christ for anyone experiencing any form of captivity [John 3:16]. 

I have one question for anyone who doesn’t think he needs a saviour: “Is there anything that causes you fear, worry or anxiety?” If there is, irrespective of how rich, powerful or famous you are, you aren’t genuinely free. That may sound controversial, but according to the Bible, such maladies are permanently bound in God’s kingdom, which is already here [Revelation 21:4, Luke 17:21]. The Bible also presents Jesus as the answer to our deepest fears [Romans 8:31-39]. So, if we recognise our desperate state and accept His offer of salvation, God transfers us from the domain of darkness into His kingdom, where no captor can ever reach us [Colossians 1:14-15]. I didn’t truly appreciate what happened on the Cross until I looked back at the Exodus. I believe understanding the Exodus increases a believer’s gratitude and boldness. God didn’t just free His people; He publicly humiliated and disarmed Pharaoh and then paraded him as an utterly defeated foe before His people [Exodus 14, Colossians 2:15]

I love that God gave us a physical archetype for salvation. Pharaoh represents any captor – physical, emotional or spiritual, holding you against your will. Egypt is Pharaoh’s territory – his jurisdiction. For as long as Israel remained in Egypt, they remained subject to the whims of Pharaoh, so they weren’t free. The Bible teaches that our world has a prince [Matthew 4:5-7, John 12:31]. So, anyone who is “of the world is under the jurisdiction of that prince and is therefore not free, irrespective of what life looks like for them. That’s where we all started because of sin [Romans 3:23], but God, in Christ, came to our rescue and offered us a way out of Egypt [Ephesians 2:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21]. Pharaoh was obstinate, just like Satan. It took One mightier to break his grip on God’s people. So, don’t expect Satan to let you go without a fight if you want to be free.

Much could be said about the symbolism of the Passover Lamb and crossing the Red Sea. But, it’s noteworthy that God didn’t give Israel the Law until He had permanently separated them from Pharaoh’s jurisdiction [Exodus 19:1-6]. So, God isn’t put off by our brokenness. He doesn’t ask us to clean up our act before He saves us. However, once we get to Sinai, having chosen to be baptised into Christ, we must embrace His Law to receive our inheritance [John 13:34, Ephesians 1:3-14, Galatians 3:26-29]. If we don’t, we invariably forfeit the Promised Land [Numbers 14:21-38, Hebrews 3:7-19]. I think this – submitting to God’s Law – is a struggle for many. We want freedom from Pharaoh, but not Sinai, because we want to be the masters of our lives. Yet, as Israel demonstrated, if we reject the Law of liberty – which is our prerogative, we’ll inevitably end up back in Egypt because our choices either land us in the domain of darkness or God’s kingdom [Deuteronomy 28, John 8:32, James 1:19-25]. There isn’t a third option. 

Many of us have never experienced physical captivity, but we know we’re far from the freedom Jesus exhibited when He walked the earth. He showed us what it was like to be utterly free of Pharaoh’s whims and paved the way for us to experience likewise [Galatians 5:1]. Like Him, we can partake of God’s divine nature and escape the corruption around us [2 Peter 1:3-4]. Though in the world, God’s children aren’t of the world and aren’t under the jurisdiction of the prince of this world [John 17:16]. However, to live in that reality and experience the fullness of our freedom – physical, emotional, spiritual and even financial liberty, we must learn how to appropriate God’s promises [Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:10, Philippians 2:12]. 

Are you truly free? If not, I have good news: Nothing can stop you from leaving Egypt for everything God has in store for you [Acts 16:30-31, Romans 10:9]. You, too, can say: “The Lord is my light and my salvation” and stand fearless before any adversary because once the Son sets you free, you’re free indeed [John 8:36].

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