In the story arc of the Biblical narrative, the Book of Exodus stands out with its themes of deliverance, journey, and covenant. This extraordinary account which begins with enslavement in Egypt is a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive plan for His people. I mentioned in a previous post that the themes of Exodus resonate throughout scripture. One place those themes are highlighted is in the Epistles of Paul.
Peace Through His blood
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. … But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.Colossians 1:19-23 NIV
The Exodus story provides the background, the prelude, to the story of Christ’s death and resurrection. In Colossians, we note the phrases, “making peace through his blood” and presenting us “without blemish and free from accusation.” Christ’s work on the cross was our ultimate liberation from the bondage of sin, providing our peace with God. We remember the command given to the Israelites to slaughter the perfect lamb, one without blemish, and to sprinkle the blood on the doorposts so that the angel of death would pass by – peace with God.
So the blood of Christ ushered in the new covenant where we have peace and eternal life. The Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthian church of Jesus’s words, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Each time we participate in the Lord’s supper, we remember Christ’s death on our behalf, echoes of Exodus.
The Wilderness Journey
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
Much of the Exodus story is about the beginning of the wilderness journey. It’s a transformative journey involving miracles, fire, and the building of a Tabernacle. The wilderness pilgrimage mirrors our own spiritual journey. Paul writes about our becoming a new creation, putting off the old, and putting on attributes befitting our calling in Christ. It’s a life-long journey to prepare for the new heavens and earth.
Community with God
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ … for you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. … Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Adapted from Colossians 3:1-17
Last, the Apostle Paul is noted for emphasizing that Christ dwells with us and in us. The Apostle writes to the Colossians, “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved …”. Exodus tells the story of God’s desire for community and His gracious covenant with Israel. The story reveals the tension between law and grace. God wanted to live and walk among His people, but His people had to be holy. There is a phrase in Exodus that echoes in my mind as I read Paul’s letters. God said to the Israelites, “So you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” What a beautiful statement, one to cling to in our spiritual journeys. We are often tempted to do better, to strive, but God is the One who makes us holy.
The intricate symphony that is God’s love is expressed in both the narrative of Exodus and the theology of Paul. I look forward to diving into the ancient narrative that ultimately leads us to the climactic revelation in Christ!