"They shall take them
captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.
And it shall come to pass...that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow,
and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou was made to
serve." The prophecy contained in these words looks beyond Abraham's
physical seed, and their deliverance from Babylon, to his spiritual seed and the salvation
of God's elect in Christ. And it suggests four stages of grace experienced by
every child of God.
1. GRACE FINDS US IN A
STATE OF BONDAGE AND CAPTIVITY. All men flatter themselves with the
notion that they are intellectually, morally and spiritually free. But the fact
is that every man by nature is in a state of bondage. And the first work of
grace is to show us our helpless condition. When grace found us, we were in
bondage to the world, in bondage to sin, in bondage to satan
and in bondage to God's holy law.
2. GRACE BRINGS US INTO A STATE OF DELIVERANCE (Isa. 61:1-3). We are all, by nature, the
house of a strong man armed. But when Christ comes in, by the power of
omnipotent grace, he binds the strong man, satan,
casts him out, and takes the spoils of victory. This deliverance is the work of
God alone. And it is accomplished as soon as a sinner trusts Christ. But it is
not yet complete. As the children of Israel had many enemies to conquer before they
could enter the land of promised rest, though they had escaped from Egypt, so we have many battles to fight in this
wilderness. But -
3. GRACE SUSTAINS US IN A STATE OF WARFARE. The believer in this world is not in the
land of peace. We are at war. The world allures us, satan
tempts us. The flesh opposes us. But, blessed be God, grace sustains us (I Cor.
Cor. 12:9; Phil. 1:6). And -
4. GRACE SHALL DELIVER US INTO A STATE OF VICTORY AND DOMINION. Soon we shall be free! God
will bruise satan under our feet shortly. In the end
we shall rule over our oppressors. "And it shall come to pass in that day
that the LORD shall give thee rest" (Rev. 7:14-16; 21:4). In heaven's
glory we shall forever rest from our sorrows, and our fears,
and all the hard bondage wherein we have been made to serve upon this earth.
What a blessed day that eternal day shall be (Heb. 4:9-11).