Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,
I will sing to the Lord, for He has
The horse and his rider He has
thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my song,
and He has become my salvation,
this is my God, and I will praise Him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
The Lord is a man of war,
the Lord is His name.
Who is like you, O Lord, among the
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
awesome in glorious deeds, doing
You stretched out Your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
You have led in Your steadfast love the
people whom You have
You have guided them by Your
strength to Your holy abode.
Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of Your arm,
they are still as a stone,
till Your people, O Lord, pass by
till the people by whom You
You will bring them in and plant them
on Your own mountain,
the place, O Lord which You have
made for Your abode,
the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your
hands have established.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.
– Exodus 15:1-3, 11-13, 16-18
These are the people who acknowledged God’s sovereignty and grace in salvation and redemption. These are the people who were also condemned to wander the wilderness for forty years and to perish for their unbelief.
1 Corinthians 10:1-5
For I want you to know, brothers, that our father were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the same spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
God’s purpose in redeeming Israel out of Egypt was to bring them into possession of the land flowing with milk and honey just as He had promised their forefather, Abraham.
Then the Lord God said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amarites, the Peruzzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Peruzzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
We know in foresight that this land typified the church, and that even the Passover lamb itself typified Christ, but the land was still the immediate promise. The land was the immediate reason why God had delivered Israel from the hand of the Egyptians.
But this is not what most of Israel would see when the time came to possess the land. They may have thought possession of the land was certain when they were standing on the other side of the Red Sea having just witnessed the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, but it isn’t what they saw when ten of the twelve spies they had sent in to spy out the land came back with a bad report. (Numbers 13:30-33, 14:1-4). In fact, it wasn’t even what they would see the first time they felt their bellies rumble with hunger.
God had promised Israel a land flowing with milk and honey. God delivered Israel out of Egypt’s hand so that Israel could take possession of that land. God’s deliverance of Israel was accompanied by signs and wonders, and through deliverance from judgment by the death of a vicarious sacrifice – a Passover lamb. Standing on the other side of the Red Sea, the people sing of His certain faithfulness in salvation and redemption. When the rubber finally hit the road though, they shrank back from His faithfulness in unbelief.
Election Not Enough
The Israelites were personal eyewitnesses to God’s just judgment upon Egypt. And I am not talking about the plagues here, but rather about the judgment; that is, the death of the firstborn son. In each of the plagues, Israel had been spared the plague by virtue of their hereditary election. They were the chosen people, the physical descendants of Abraham. Nothing was required of them outside the fact they were the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This fact alone was enough to spare them from suffering the plagues the rest of Egypt suffered.
But when the time came for judgment, election was not enough to save them. Rather, they had to also be redeemed by the death of a vicarious sacrifice.
So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been nor ever will be again. But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the doorposts , the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
Understand, this atonement demonstrated election. Election did not demonstrate the atonement. The reason why both Israel and Egypt could report that God distinguished between Israel and Egypt is because the Passover lamb had saved Israel from the destroyer.
Why is that important? It’s important, because people who place God’s sovereignty and grace in salvation over and above God’s revelation of righteousness in definite atonement have got it backwards. The atonement reveals the election, the sovereignty and the grace, rather than the other way around.
Well then, since they all shared in the Passover, doesn’t that then mean they were all redeemed? Certainly, all of Israel had been saved from the judgment of the death of the firstborn son, but that was not the point of the Passover. The point of the Passover was not only to save them from immediate judgment, but also to bring them into possession of a land flowing with milk and honey, to a land specifically occupied at the time by the Caananites, the Hittites, and a whole lot of other ites.
What’s my point?
My point is this; a gospel without definite atonement is no gospel at all. Why? Because it is a gospel that presents us with a God who is unjust to justify sinners apart from some input from the sinner. A gospel with only grace and God’s sovereignty in salvation is no gospel at all. What you have in a gospel like this is a bunch of people who shrink back in unbelief.
But Dave, come on, man. Shouldn’t we always have meat in due season at the forefront of our minds? We don’t want to absolutize an entire list and perhaps leave room for men to make error, do we? And don’t illogical thoughts cross our mind everyday?
In other words, you don’t want anyone to be offended by the cross.
Nobody is talking about thoughts that flash through our brains everyday, fool. We are talking about the things which a person believes, the things which he holds as true.
If I tell you I am going to the store, I do not need perfect knowledge of the store to know there is a difference between a store and a parking garage, or an airport, or a restaurant. Nor do I need perfect knowledge of the store to shop at the store. But if I go to what you call a store with the intent to park my car in what you call a store, then it would be pretty doggone stupid of you to assume that my definition of a parking garage and a store is the same as your definition of a parking garage and a store. And yet, there are plenty of people who do exactly this very thing.
When the self righteous man sings Amazing Grace, he means amazing grace without any reference to God’s righteousness, to God’s faithfulness, to God’s justice. And that’s the problem. Because it’s the efficaciousness of the Cross that reveals these things. It’s not election, grace or sovereignty that reveals these. Rather, the efficaciousness of the Cross reveals all these things. You’ve got it backwards, man. You’ve turned the whole thing upside down.
And when the self righteous man throws up a smokescreen by insisting that salvation is not by perfect knowledge, he is but merely making an attempt to avoid the question. No one is saying salvation is by perfect knowledge. Rather, we are saying the object of faith is the Christ Jesus who really propitiated. And we are saying that if you do not agree with God that Christ has really propitiated, then you are like one of those Israelites standing on the banks of the Red Sea, about to spend the next forty years wandering in the wilderness to your own destruction.
What about my “ever shrinking sphere of fellowship”? Oh, you mean like the one Moses and Caleb and Joshua found themselves in when the rest of Israel fell back in unbelief? Well that’s okay, because when God kills off all those on the outside, then my circle won’t be so small anymore.