The Good News that Conquers Our Predicament, part 4

“The Exodus tradition lies at the heart of the faith of the OT. It is the supreme example of Yahweh’s saving activity on behalf of his chosen people, and as such it becomes a paradigm for all acts of salvation.” (“Exodus” by J. Gordon McConville in VanGemeren, General Editor, New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis, vol. 4, p. 601)

To understand the gospel, we must understand the exodus. To understand what “salvation” is, we must seek to get into the mindset of a 1st Century Jew. The God that they knew from their Scriptures identified himself by saying, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Exodus 20:2). They understood their God as the deliverer from oppression, the savior from bondage.

Kevin Vanhoozer (in the book that won Christianity Today’s 2006 Book of the Year for Theology ) writes,

“The deliverance from Egypt is ‘theatrical’ in both its scale and its details and especially in its typological pointing beyond itself to the yet greater liberation to be accomplished in Christ” (Vanhoozer, The Drama of Doctrine [WJK, 2005], p. 41).

Christ’s saving work is often presented in terms that harken to the Exodus:

  • “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Gal 1:3-5)
  • “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:13-14)

The New Testament often describes the saving work of Christ in terms of freedom. Some don’t like to hear this, but the gospel is so vast that it takes many metaphors to describe it. Some want to give first place to penal substitution, denying the other ways that the Bible presents the good news of Jesus. However, when we look at the Scriptures, we find that one of the ways that the gospel is presented is as freedom from bondage – we are enslaved by sin, by the world (the present evil age), and by the devil.

Paul, “the Apostle of Liberty” (Longnecker), and the “Apostle of the Heart Set Free” (Bruce), often uses liberty and freedom language as the means to proclaim the gospel. According to Paul,

    “The arch-enemy of liberty is Sin, a tyrannical ruler which holds all humanity in bondage (Rom 3:9; Gal 3:22)…Christ comes to liberate human beings from slavery to Sin and all the powers at its command. [J. K. Chamblin, “Freedom” in Hawthorne, Martin, & Reid, editors, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, (InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 313].

  • “The Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin.” (Gal 3:22)
  • “the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age” (Gal 1:3-4)
  • “Don’t be enslaved by the world.” (1 Cor 7:23)
  • “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col 2:15)

Links to the entire series:
1: Define the Predicament, and You Understand another Facet of the Gospel
2: Predicament #1: The Lack of Shalom
3: Evil Bondage in the Place of Shalom
4: EXODUS and the GOOD NEWS of FREEDOM in Paul
6: Another of Humanity’s Predicaments: Broken Relationships
7: The Prophesied Kingdom of God
8: The Kingdom of God Restoring Israel from Exile
9: The Kingdom of God Healing Broken Relationships
10: The Kingdom of God and the Atonement
11: The Kingdom and the Mission of God’s People
12: What is my view of the Kingdom of God?

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