But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 5)
Saved And Then Lost
The children of Abraham had been in a foreign land in bondage and oppression for four hundred years. God had promised Abraham He would deliver the people from Egypt. When the time came for the deliverance of His chosen people, God raised up Moses to be the one to bring the Hebrews to the land promised Abraham. The Lord showed His glory with wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and the wilderness forty years. Through the power of God, Israel was saved from Egyptian bondage. The Passover was a test of the people’s faith and they were obedient to the word of the Lord. Everything God commanded them to do, they obeyed. As the Egyptians approached the people standing by the Red Sea, the people’s faith was emboldened to walk through the sea on dry land. God saved the people from Egypt by His mighty hand.
After the miracle of the Red Sea, the Hebrews came to the Wilderness of Shur, where there was water but so bitter they were unable to drink it. The Lord told Moses to throw a tree in the water and it became sweet. Shortly afterward, God provided manna to feed the people and once again provided abundant water at a place they named Massah and Meribah. The Amalekites attacked the Hebrews and the Lord gave them complete victory. Arriving at Mount Sinai, the Hebrews became a nation with God giving them a law. Everything was going well for Israel and God delivered them from every trial. The Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt, but their hearts turned away from Him.
Salvation from Egypt did not save the people in the wilderness. The signs and wonders the people saw in deliverance from Pharoah did not keep them from disobeying the commands of God. At Sinai, the people demanded a god to lead them and Aaron made the golden calf. When the people came to Canaan at Kadesh-Barnea, they rebelled against the Lord again. Sadly, the deliverance from Egypt did not save them. The people God saved from Egypt were the same people the Lord destroyed because they did not believe. They saw the power of the Lord but it did not save them. The forty years of wandering destroyed everyone twenty years and above and these were the same people God had saved from Egypt. Only Joshua and Caleb were saved from this destruction.
Faith alone did not save the Hebrews. Deliverance from Egypt did not save Israel. God’s power did not instill saving faith as the people continued to rebel against Him. The Lord saved the people out of the land of Egypt and then He destroyed those who did not remain faithful. Jude makes the point that salvation did not come only by the power of God. The angels who did not keep their proper domain, God punished. Faith alone has never saved anyone, including the demons – who believe and tremble. Jesus manifested the power of God and the Jews rejected Him and killed Him.
One of the most prominent doctrines of modern theology is salvation by faith only and, once saved, always saved. The Bible never teaches that God will save those who refuse to obey Him. All the wonders and signs the Hebrews saw did not change their hearts and God destroyed them. If the Lord will destroy His own people because of unbelief, He will punish those who refuse to follow His word. Remember the Israelites. God saved the people out of the land of Egypt and afterward destroyed those who did not believe. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.