Notes on the Exodus (116)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Death Penalty  (Chapter 12 Verses 31-51)

Plagues one to three affected both Egypt and Israel. Plagues four to nine affected only Egypt. Number ten, the last, affected both, God’s judgment call on untreated sin. Israel, as well as Egypt ,deserved this judgment, the death penalty as well. The only escape was through the blood of the lamb. It was the blood that stood between them and a sin-hating God. It’s the blood that atones for the sin, that removes the penalty. Israel being descendants of Abraham gave them no protection whatsoever. Later on, in this account of God’s dealing with Israel, we shall see their complaining unbelief, that makes it plain that their worship (v27), was simply a fearful, formal compliance. For many of them, most of them the death sentence had only just been deferred. Except for  two, Joshua and Caleb and their families of course. This was the final and the great stroke (v29-30). The prediction is fulfilled refuting the profanity and blindness of many in Egypt. They were warned, as many are today by God’s faithful servants, but the message was not believed. The old serpent’s lie had been swallowed, “the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). God meant it then and he means it now, “thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). And Jesus reiterates this, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). As do the apostles, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But for most today? It just falls upon deaf ears or is laughed off in profane mockery. Yes, by the wealthy and the poor alike, by all, unless the Lord awakens and frights them.

It’s the result of Adam’s sin. He lit the fire and it still burns in men’s hearts today. His sin is our sin. Sin today is just a continuance of his original sin. It is indescribable the devastation that that one sin has caused. Sin breeds sin and goes on doing so until the end of the age. And none of us are able to put the fire out, none. It is lodged, embedded deep within the inclinations of our beings and is constantly and repeatedly aroused so that we walk continually in the flames. The end result is death. Which is firstly a dissolution, a violation of the spiritual bond with the Fountain of life? Therefore, man is driven from the tree of life. So this death is carried into all the relations of life. Into all his spiritual and physical misery. And yet man lives with this evolutionary delusion of perfection. The result of man’s sin is common to all. It is not unique to just a few, but common to all. Adam’s was the basic, the root sin. He is our federal head so we are all joined to him and are partakers of his sin nature. That first sin poisoned the deepest principle of life. All vestiges of holiness were permanently and immediately lost. Adam didn’t just sin once and walk away, he became sin and we with him. Alas, all is not lost, the second, the last Adam has also appeared of the stage of world history. God has made provision for poor lost sinners.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (16)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The Need for Christ’s Righteousness  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The breastplate is a necessity, it protects our vulnerable hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). To be clothed upon with and to stand in the righteousness of Christ is a must. It is the truth that is the foundation and the dynamic of a righteous life. The truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6). It is a righteousness of another that enables us to stand before God uncondemned (Philippians 3:9; 1Corinthians 1:30). He, Christ, is the source of our life, it is because of him, that we are in him that we live (Galatians 2:20). It is forensic. We are judged and declared by God to be, not just not guilty, in his court, but righteous altogether. Because of another’s righteousness, Christ’s. This is a central part of God’s saving truth. It is this that makes our hearts impenetrable against Satan. God’s verdict acquits us of sin and its guilt and declares us righteous. We are naturally related to Adam (Romans 5:12). We were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). We were dead not because we sinned, rather we sinned because were born dead. But now we are alive in Christ (Romans 6:3-11). He, Christ, died, was buried and raised from the dead and we were in him, therefore, we too have raised to newness of life. All this that he has accomplished is ours in him. Freely, graciously, as if it were our very own. The forgiveness, the righteousness, the favour, all the blessings of God, ours (Romans 8:33ff).

Once Adam was our federal head, all that was his, sin included was ours. But now we have a new covenant head, Christ, and all that is his is now ours, righteousness. Sadly this is so seldom preached today. The thought that we can be held accountable for Adam’s sin is a horrific thought to many. But if we reject the federal headship of Adam, where does that put us regards the federal headship of Christ? This is our great comfort. Faith declares us to be in Christ (Romans 8:1). Our faith declares that at Calvary all our sins were paid for in full, past, present, and future. I was crucified with Christ, raised with Christ. Now I live, because of him. I stand in his perfected righteousness, and armour-plated righteousness, that Satan the devil cannot penetrate. This was earned, purchased not by me but for me, by Christ. The sentence and the pawl of death hangs over the world, but we shout “I LIVE!” So who is your federal head, is Adam? Or is it Christ? It is one or the other. The old spiritual song asks of you, “were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The answer, yes, you were, we were all there, in our Adamic natures, under his covenant headship. Only through faith in Christ, with him as our federal head, clothed upon with his righteousness are protected from sin and its consequences, now and in the last day.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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Notes on the Exodus (115)

“Exposing the Exodus” 

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The Call for Reformation of Doctrine  (Chapter 12 Verses 11-20)

For seven days v15, v19. This is the biblical number of completion in the covenant of grace. It is an entire period, in other words for the entirety of our lives Israel, we, are called to walk in the practice holiness. None of the leaven of old Egypt, of our past way of living. This not in order to be saved but because they have been saved. Of course, none of us are perfect, “for we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man” (James 3:2). Our failures do affect the security of our salvation, or the divine affection towards us, God’s love never alters towards his people, never. But it does bring a cloud over our fellowship with God, our communion with him is spoiled, until we are restored to fellowship (1John 1:5-2:2). In order to preserve our walk in holiness and communion with God we need the pure word of God to be continually reforming our minds and thus our walk also (Matthew 4:4).The word of God is needed to purge our minds, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). As we see in Israel’s future behaviour their minds were yet full of and desirous of returning to Egypt. But are we any different? God wants them not just out of Egypt, that’s the easiest bit. It’s getting Egypt out of them, us, out of our minds that is. What is best for us, God’s good and acceptable, perfect will (Romans 12:2). This is our spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). The will of God revealed in his word is to be the regulator for the entirety of our lives. The word of God is our moral standard, not the Egypt’s, i.e., the world’s. It exercises us in spiritual hygiene, and the standard is of zero tolerance. If we allow the leaven to remain it will grow more and more, it must be excised completely, giving it no quarter whatever. Our society today, morally speaking, is in free-fall and the church is not far behind. God’s moral standards are embedded in his character, reflected in his law not the culture of the day (1Corinthians 6:9-11). Sin is a choice, grace is given to us to overcome sin.

The word of God in preaching is the primary means God uses to purge sin from our lives. Note in all this record of Moses dealings with both Pharaoh and Israel too, his courage. And his faithfulness to God’s message also. He stood against the pressure and forces of the state and the idolatrous culture of his day. What was the divine agenda? To prepare and get Israel, God’s chosen people to the promised land. Even though often times we see that they do not want to go. Again we are no different today. In other words to prepare God’s people for future glory. That in a word is the agenda of biblical preaching. It is through the faithful preaching of God’s word that sin is purged from our lives and the mind of the church is purified of the leaven of Egypt, i.e., the world. Always reaching forwards and upwards towards perfection of holiness, “as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). So Israel, we, are called out of Egypt into God’s best. The leaven, the roots of sin run deep. We can cut off the shoots and it appears for a while that they are gone, but soon they are back again. We have to go deeper, the very seeds need to be gotten rid of. The soil needs to be purged and spiritual plants sown and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the beauty of holiness flourishing in all of our lives. So remove the leaven (v15). Sanctify yourselves. For, “nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27).

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on Christian Warfare (15)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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Armour plated Righteousness  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The heart needs to be kept, protected, “keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). We need the breastplate of righteousness (v14b). For sin, prises open the links of the chain-mail. And the cracks expose us to danger the lurking enemy is waiting for any opportunity to pounce (1Peter 5:8). He will seize upon anything that he can use to charge us with wrongdoing, he is not called the accuser of the brothers for nothing (Revelation 12:10). A fault perhaps that we can only plead guilty to. For he will use it to torment you night and day, he will plague you with it. It would be his pleasure that such guilt would dominate and spoil your peace and your Christian life. You’re every conscious and waken moment until he has you paralysed in regards to any Christian activity and service. This is the reason some don’t read the Bible because it opens them to his accusations, they are convicted. They no longer pray, attend the meetings, or witness to the Saviour, their armour has been breached. The righteousness of Christ must lead to a righteousness of living, else the enemy will cripple you. This is the very nature of the warfare the Christian is called into to. You have been drafted into the King’s army, but the warfare is spiritual. It is not like the wars of the world, that can be explained by worldly and historical causes. Our aim is not a natural one, it is not pointed at or desirous of the conquest of some world-power. The weapons we use are not physical, material, “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We fight by the power of faith, the sword of the Spirit, God’s word. The battle is the Lord’s, not man’s. We look to the Lord to supply everything necessary for this fight. This is the reason men are bidden to count the cost of discipleship before they begin, or else, “what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So, therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:31-33).

So we look to Jesus our Captain, our mighty warrior God (Isaiah 9:6). He refused help in his darkest hour but trusted himself to God, forbidding his men the use of carnal weapons. “Then Jesus said to him, “put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels” (Matthew 26:52-53)? Muhammed’s clan of thugs made no progress at all in the sixth century until they started using the sword. Muhammed is termed the prophet of the sword. And still, to this day it advances its cause by the sword and terror. The kingdom of God and his Christ are not advance in this way. But by spiritual means, the prayers of the saints, the preaching of God’s word, the power of God’s love captivating and drawing men’s hearts. The fiercest battle Jesus ever fought was upon the cross, paradoxical it may seem compared to the world’s wars and Islam’s, he conquered in death. He conquered sin and death and hell by his own death. In spite of people’s misunderstanding, it was the same in the Old Testament too. Israel of old was a type of the church, she was hated by the surrounding nations, i.e., the world. Their hatred of Israel was spiritual because she was God’s chosen nation. The wars that Israel fought were fought on spiritual terms, “how could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up” (Deuteronomy 32:30)? In faith they had to look to God for the victory, it was when they failed to trust God they faced defeat. The New Testament is no different. The battle is between light and darkness (2Corinthians 6:14). It is a spiritual battle fought in the midst of the world, the family, the school, the workplace. As God’s people seek to live out the principle of their new birth in Christ in accordance with the word of God. This, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God is our only weapon. Our defence is his righteousness (v14b).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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