You can learn a lot about who we by understanding the reason for our name. It comes from a typology in the Bible –the story of the Hebrews' journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. A typology simply means looking at an analogy from a historical narrative of the Old Testament to help us understand a truth of Christian life. The truth in this typology is understanding that the abundant life that is available to all Christians does not come automatically, nor quickly. In Philippians 1:6, it says –“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (NKJV).
In the short version, the narrative from the Old Testament goes like this. The Hebrew journey began in Egypt, where they had been in slavery for over 400 years, so generation after generation was born into slavery. Similarly, every person since Adam (with one notable exception, Jesus) has been born into slavery – slavery to sin. Just like it took an incredible act of God to free the Hebrews from their slavery by parting the sea, it took an amazing act of grace for God to free us from our sin by sending His only Son to die for our salvation.
The Hebrews, once free, found themselves in the wilderness, where they remained for 40 years. In the wilderness, they often complained about their new life, and almost always seemed confused as they wandered in the foreign land. Likewise, when we accept Jesus as our Lord, we typically struggle to understand what it means to be a “new person”. Ephesians 4:23-24 says,
Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God (CEV)
Often times, we revert back to depending on ourselves rather than depending on God. What God was doing to the Hebrews during their time in the wilderness was building their trust in Him before He would allow them to enter the Promised Land. In our Christian wilderness, God is at work building our trust in Him. Unfortunately, most Christians spend their lives never fully trusting Him and missing out on the abundant life that Jesus made available to us.
The final step in this typology comes from when God had the Hebrews right He wanted them, He performed another miracle by parting the Jordan River and allowing them to cross into the Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey. In our lives today, when we finally learn to trust God with our entire life and truly identify ourselves with Christ, then we can begin to experience the fullness of the Christian life. This is NOT some second act of the Holy Spirit in us. It is us truly becoming broken to ourselves in order that God can be free to produce His fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22.23).
It is not a coincidence that the place where God stopped the Jordan River from flowing so the Hebrews could cross into the Promised Land was called Adam (Joshua 3:16). Similarly, God is at work in us to stop our selfish, sinful nature we inherited from Adam. Think of it this way, before we accept Christ, we are in Adam and we are like Adam. When we accept Christ, we are in Christ, but we still act like Adam. When we learn brokenness to our selfish nature and finally trust God in all things, we are both in Christ and like Christ. That is crossing the river.