Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. – Jude 5 (ESV)
Learning from your mistakes is a good idea. Learning from the mistakes other people make is even wiser. In today’s passage we read a very important lesson drawn from Israel being rescued by God from Egypt. To understand this lesson, we need to remember the basic symbolism: (1) Egypt = Bondage; (2) The Promised Land = Salvation/Presence with God in the New Heavens and the New Earth; (3) The Wilderness = The Journey from Bondage to Salvation. Jude’s point is simple but powerful: Liberation from the external bondage of Egypt is not the same thing as receiving God’s salvation. The striking thing is that nearly all of the adults who were rescued from Egypt ended up dying in the wilderness (Please note this doesn’t mean that every individual who died in the wilderness was eternally lost – we see Moses as a clear counter example to such an assertion). This serves as a warning that leaving the world and uniting with Christ’s church is not itself salvific. Sometimes people “get religion” and, in the process, end up overcoming bondage to addictions or particular sins; yet they never come to a place of loving and trusting God. Full salvation from sin and life with Christ is too important for anyone to accept a substitute.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 57
Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.