By Rev. John Wilbur Chapman
The Red Sea
After the Passover, when the pillar of cloud had gone before the children of Israel, changing into a pillar of fire by night, they came to the Red Sea, and God miraculously opened a way for them through the sea, and dry shod they passed over to the other side. After them in hot pursuit came all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. In their blind rage they followed them into the path of the sea, when suddenly the waters came together, holding the Egyptians in their close embrace, and behold! these enemies of Israel lay dead upon the shore.
There must be something of typical teaching to be attached to this Red Sea experience. Beyond all question, it stands typically for the death of Christ, but not as a redemption; that is one thought of the atonement, but there is still another side to it. The Red Sea must stand for the death of Christ in its power to deliver us from the control or dominion of sin.
We had in the Passover the suggestion as to what His death means as a substitution. But that is not all the teaching to be drawn from His death. Many people stop here, and therefore they have neither peace nor power. It must be something like this. Just as Jesus was my substitute and died for me, so He is my living head, with whom and in whom I must die daily. And just as He lives to make intercession for me at the right hand of God, so He lives in me to carry out and perfect His life. I can only find out what the life is that He would live in me, when I look at His death. In that death I find He submitted His will absolutely unto God; and so if one wants to live a life of perfect peace, there must be an unconditional surrender of one's life. It is to be like Christ when we yield everything to God. We have not a thought, we have not a wish, we have not a hope, but for God. We would not live a day except that God might be glorified in our life of that day. If you say this is impossible, my answer is: Did Jesus do it? If He did, then He waits to fill out your life and mine in the same way. But just as Israel went down into the Red Sea, so I must go down into the death of Christ for deliverance from the power of self and sin.
However, it is not to be forgotten that when Christ died upon the cross, He died for sin; but in the second place, it is said that He died unto sin. He was tempted, and He gave up His life rather than yield. In this I may have fellowship with Him as I enter into His death.
Egypt stands for the world. In it the Spirit of God found us when we were saved. Out of all the company of Egyptians certain foes pursued Israel, even to the midst of the sea. They are like the sins which have followed us since our conversion: pride, temper, lust, avarice, and many other things that have cost us no end of trouble all our Christian life through. We have always been sure of our salvation, but these foes that have beset us, have made us unutterably miserable. Is there no escape from them, and is there no hope of victory? Let us see.
You remember that the waters of the Red Sea rolled in on the Egyptians, and covered them, so that there remained not so much as one of them. We are told that they were seen dead upon the shore. The Rev. F. B. Meyer says the Israelites might have gone back and said:
"There is my old taskmaster; he will never trouble me again."
Another might have said: There is mine, he will oppress me no more."
All this beautifully illustrates what may be counted upon if we enter into the death of Christ. He died unto sin, and so we may stand in Him and say from henceforth: "I count my temper slain, my pride crucified, my lust dead, and my avarice lifeless."
But all this time, however, with these certain Egyptians slain, Egypt as a nation was still intact. So is Sin. Paul said, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin." But he never said, "Reckon sin to be dead unto you." Some people have here made a fatal mistake. My personal sins I must count slain, but Sin back of them all is very much alive. How, then, are we to meet temptation?
Remember always that temptation is not sin. If it stands beckoning to you from the other side of the sea, you need not yield. Yielding is sin. Put Christ and His death between you and sin, and you will always gain the victory. Those were great words of Paul when he said: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
Can you subscribe to this teaching, and will you enter by a complete submission of your will into all that the death of Christ means? Will you say: "Henceforth I shall live as a man dead to sin"?
I believe it is possible for one to be saved, not only from the penalty of sin — that is the teaching of the Cross; but also from the power of sin — that is the lesson learned on the shores of the Red Sea.
There are two thoughts in Paul's lesson above referred to. We are not to yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness; but this is a negative truth, and is only half the truth. We may yield them unto God; this is positive teaching, and is the secret of deliverance.
The verb indicates that it may be done instantly. Then why not do it now? Why not write your name, as you read, to this covenant?—
. . . . . . . . . . 189__.
"I definitely dedicate myself this day unto the Lord, to be His forever. I shall expect deliverance from sin's power only through Him.
. . . . . . . . . . [Name.]"