It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
Words by John of Damascus
Translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale
Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought forth Israel into joy from sadness;
Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.
’Tis the spring of souls today; Christ has burst His prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death as a sun hath risen;
All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
From His light, to Whom we give laud and praise undying.
Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts, comes its joy to render;
Comes to glad Jerusalem, who with true affection
Welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.
Neither might the gates of death, nor the tomb’s dark portal,
Nor the watchers, nor the seal hold Thee as a mortal;
But today amidst the twelve Thou didst stand, bestowing
That Thy peace which evermore passeth human knowing.
“Alleluia!” now we cry to our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars of the tomb’s dark portal;
“Alleluia!” with the Son, God the Father praising,
“Alleluia!” yet again to the Spirit raising.
I first heard this hymn when we visited Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Our dear friends were ministering there, and I can still hear the sound of the pipe organ playing this beautiful and thought-provoking hymn.
The message of this hymn centers around Jesus’ resurrection. But it is different than traditional Easter hymns in that it hearkens back to the delivery of Israel from Egypt. God’s chosen people had been enslaved for 400 years to Pharoah. God loosed them from the “bitter yoke” that held them, and brought them many years later into the land He had prepared for them, the land He had promised them. They were slaves to Pharoah. God set them free.
“Blessed be the LORD who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.” Exodus 18:10
Now fast forward thousands of years. Humanity is enslaved to sin. Even the most religious people are bound to so many laws that it’s not humanly possible to keep them all. The people could not work hard enough to save themselves. They were slaves of the devil. But God saved us once and for all through the death and resurrection of His son, who took our sin upon Himself and became the sacrifice. God set us free.
She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
God is indeed our great deliverer.
Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Romans 7:4-6