Summary: Sermon 14 in a study in Colossians
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
God’s words through His servant Moses to the nation of Israel help us understand that our salvation is by His grace alone.
“The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deut 7:7-8
This was a generation of people who had never known anything but slavery. Their decisions were made for them, they had what they had in the material sense only by the favor of the Pharaoh, and the only thing they knew of the God of their fathers was what had been handed down to them orally by their parents and grandparents.
The condition of the children of Israel in Egypt serves as a perfect type or example of mankind, enslaved to the power of sin and the fear of death.
Exodus 1:13-14 tells us:
“The Egyptians compelled the sons of Israel to labor rigorously; and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them.”
And we are thus reminded of the bitterness of a life of sin, the soul’s hard taskmaster that demands and drives and breaks down and destroys, and holds its victims in fear of death and whatever might come after death.
A few chapters later in Exodus, when God gives Moses the ordinances for the first Passover meal, He will instruct the inclusion of a sop of bitter herbs into which to dip their unleavened bread. Bitter herbs to remind them and their future generations as they taste it, of the bitterness of slavery under the Pharaoh’s cruel hand.
It was this bitter sop into which Jesus dipped His bread the same moment as His betrayer. I wonder… did their hands touch as they did so? At that moment did the thought pass through the mind of Jesus that as they dipped, Judas was steeped in the bitterness of sin, while He, the Christ, was about to take all that bitterness in His own body for the deliverance of all who would believe…?
Anyway, His people were enslaved in bitter and laborious circumstances and as He had promised to Abraham (Gen 15:13-14), He brought them out with many possessions. Why? Because they were His chosen and God remembers His promises.
God chose them. They did not choose Him, but He chose them simply because He loved them, and according to His grace alone He redeemed them, as Moses said, “…by a mighty hand…” out of slavery and into freedom and a new life in a new land.