Tim Keller preached on the exodus-story at The Gospel Coalition’s 2011 National Conference: “Getting Out.”
Here’s the sermon’s basic outline:
- Salvation is about what we’re getting out of: bondage with layers.
- Christians were objectively in bondage to the law but are now freed from it.
- Christians are subjectively in bondage to the law, and they default to works-righteousness.
- Christians are in bondage to their sin nature.
- Christians are in bondage to idols.
- Salvation is about how we’re getting out: crossing over by grace.
- Salvation is about why we can get out: the mediator.
The following adapts what Keller says re §1.3 (from 17:38 to 19:25):
“Sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!” (Rom 6:14–15). It’s very possible to not be under the law (i.e., one is objectively free from the law) but to be a slave to sin in practice. That is why Paul says, “Don’t be a slave to sin!” Why? W. G. T. Shedd argues that sin is the suicidal action of the human will against itself:
[S]in contains an element of servitude,—that in the very act of transgressing the law of God there is a reflex action of the human will upon itself, whereby it becomes less able than before to keep that law. Sin is the suicidal action of the human will. It destroys the power to do right, which is man’s true freedom. [W. G. T. Shedd, Sermons to the Natural Man (New York: Scribner’s, 1871), 202–3; cf. 229.]
Sin is the slow, and sure, and eternal suicide of a human will. [W. G. T. Shedd, Sermons to the Spiritual Man (New York: Scribner’s, 1884), 343.]
In other words, when you commit a sin, you make it much easier to do it again and much harder to avoid and resist. Every time you sin you are destroying your ability to resist that sin. Every single time. “Sin is the suicidal action of the human will.” Sin does not go away right away when you become a Christian. Even after you receive Christ and Christ accepts you and objectively removes your guilt, you are still tremendously in bondage to sin subjectively because that’s how you have habitually lived.