At the very start of Psalm 114 the psalmist says, “When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.” God had one single purpose for delivering his people: to dwell with them. The plan was not to free them from a tyrannical dictator (Pharaoh) so that they could simply go on to be free to do whatever pleased them. No, he rescued them to make them his dwelling place. His objective was to replace Pharaoh as their king and become the object of their love and affection. This can be compared to a parent rescuing their child from being kidnapped. The whole aim is the restoration of the rightly ordered, loving relationship.
The point here is that when we become Christians, the blood of Jesus does not merely rescue us from the guilt of sin; it restores and reconciles us to be a right, loving relationship with our Father. In theological terms, at the center of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not forgiveness but regeneration and sanctification. New birth (regeneration) and healing (sanctification) are what the rescue plan is all about. Be sure about it; yes, forgiveness is an absolutely necessary part of that process, but forgiveness is the means to the final aim, which is being restored as the dwelling place of God.
Going back to Egyptian slavery as an analogy for Christian salvation, God’s deliverance was incomplete in getting Israel out of Egypt. It was complete when they inherited the promised land as the place where they were to share in God’s holy presence. As the psalmist of 114 writes, he delivers us to make us his dominion and his sanctuary. His desire is not only to dwell with us, but in us. It doesn’t get more intimate than that!
We find this very notion throughout the New Testament as well. Romans 6:17–18 says, “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedience from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” Or, perhaps most succinctly, Jesus says, “Take up your cross…and follow me” (Matt. 16:24), meaning that Jesus doesn’t just take away the penalty of sin, he calls us to follow him in faithful obedience. Genuine Christians are those who aren’t merely forgiven, but those who have been forgiven and love and obey Jesus. Salvation is about freedom from sin and freedom to love and obey.