Rahab: Safety, Salvation, Citizenship, Union

Joshua 2; Joshua 6  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Josh. 2 and 6
We are told in Eph. 2:77That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7) that in the ages to come, God is going to "show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus." The Spirit of God, however, is careful to remind believers of the fact that it is grace and nothing but grace, saying, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."
I know of no case in Scripture that (in type) illustrates the riches of God's grace more forcibly and fully than Rahab's history.
Her history begins in Jericho, a type of this world. It was marked out for judgment, and so is this world. For Jesus, when about to go to the cross, said, "Now is the judgment of this world," adding, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die." The doom of the world was sealed at the cross. We are told (2 Pet. 3) that the heavens and the earth are "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" and that the present interval is the period of long-suffering on God's part, He not being willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Rahab tells us what testimony of God was used to bring faith to her soul. She says in Josh. 2:1010For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. (Joshua 2:10) that they had heard what Jehovah had done at the Red Sea, which was the place where the power of God was displayed-a type of the death and resurrection of Christ. Acts 17:30, 3130And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:30‑31) informs us that "now [God] commandeth all men every where to repent: because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." Many in Jericho heard it besides Rahab, and how many there are now that know of the historical fact of the resurrection of Christ. What then is the difference? Let Scripture answer: "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not." There was faith in Rahab, and "faith cometh by hearing." Whereas on the part of them that believed not, "the word... did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Heb. 4:22For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2).
Her home, Jericho, seemed secure. To all appearances it was impregnable, just like this poor world in these days of progress and advancement in learning-vaunting itself and going on, on to judgment, heedless of what God says. But "faith is the... evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:11Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)), and so Rahab (let appearances be what they may) says, "I know that the Lord [Jehovah] hath given you the land." v. 9. What then? She wants a place of safety for herself and her father's house when the judgment falls. She wants a token (a sign) that if she acts on the word spoken (obedience of faith), their lives will be spared. She is told to "bind this line of scarlet thread in the window."
How preciously her faith shows itself! She did not put it off, saying, "Oh! there is plenty of time. They have to hide for three days at least; then they have to go over to the other side of the Jordan and get all the men of war ready; and it will take them some time before they will be ready." Instead, "she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window." v. 21. She did not lose a moment putting the scarlet line in the window. She was then safe. Let the judgment fall on Jericho-she was perfectly safe.
The "scarlet line" is a type of "the precious blood of Christ"; and God says, "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:77But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)), like Israel of old in Exod. 12, where Jehovah says, "And the blood shall be to you for a token... and when I see the blood, I will pass over you."
Rahab also thought of the blessing of others: "And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters." v. 13. She is heard, but there must be a test for them. "Thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household, home unto thee." v. 18. What, must they come under the roof of such an one, one who had been a disgrace to the family? Yes, there is not one platform for the thief and the harlot, and another for the moral, respectable person. "There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:22, 2322Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:22‑23). "Ye must be born again" (John 3:77Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:7)) was said to the moral, upright, religious ruler, and not to the immoral woman of John 4, though, of course, she needed to be born again, too. How many have stumbled at this stumbling-stone, pride!
Pride in the heart, self-sufficiency and utter ignorance of the awful havoc that sin has made, have led many to reject God's way of being saved. Simon, the Pharisee in Luke 7, and the elder brother in Luke 15, are illustrations of this. If you're still in your sins, I pray you-don't, in pride, turn away and reject God's great salvation. When it is a question of your soul's salvation and where you will spend eternity, remember the words of Peter when, referring to Jesus Christ who had been crucified, but whom God had raised from the dead, he said: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Josh. 6:2323And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. (Joshua 6:23) shows us that Rahab's family availed themselves of God's way of safety from the judgment about to fall. Though safe under the shelter of the "scarlet line," the power of God had not yet acted on their behalf. We are told "the gospel... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:1616For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)), showing that salvation (or "deliverance") is connected with the display of power. In Exod. 12 we get the blood of the lamb as the ground of security, but when we come to Exod. 14 we find God's power displayed against the enemies of God's people and in their favor, placing them on the other side of the Red Sea. We see God's love shown in giving His own beloved Son to be the Lamb who shed His precious blood on Calvary's cross, but there the enemy's power was displayed in leading man (and every class was there-kings, ecclesiastics, religious people, educated people, soldiers, common people, and thieves, etc.) to reject the blessed Lord. God refrained from displaying His power (Matt. 26:5353Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)) to deliver His Son.
Man, blinded and led on by Satan, even went so far as to use what power and authority God had placed in his hands against His Son. First, God had given His law to the Jew. Not only did he break it himself, but actually used it to condemn God's Son. "We have a law, and by our law He ought to die." John 19:77The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (John 19:7). Second, power in connection with governmental authority was also given to man, "the minister of God... to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." Rom. 13:44For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:4). This power, which had been connected with Jehovah's throne in Jerusalem, was transferred into the hands of the Gentiles in the person of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:37, 3837Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. (Daniel 2:37‑38)). Pilate, the representative in Jerusalem of this power in the hands of the Gentiles, used it against Jesus (Luke 23:24, 2524And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. (Luke 23:24‑25); John 19:1616Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (John 19:16)). Thus man used the two things with which he was entrusted by God against His Son.
God displayed His power in resurrection (Rom. 1:44And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Romans 1:4); 2 Cor. 13:44For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. (2 Corinthians 13:4)). Paul desired that the saints may know that they stand before God according to the display of His power which was put forth when He raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1:19, 20; 2:619And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:19‑20)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2:6)
). To study the important place that the resurrection holds, and truths connected with it, see Rom. 4:24, 5:1, 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:16, 1716For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:16‑17) and 1 Pet. 1:3-53Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3‑5). Only after the power of God had been displayed against the enemy on Rahab's behalf, is it said, "And Joshua saved Rahab," bringing her out of what had been judged and putting her into an entirely different place. So it is now with the believer before God. He is no longer seen as "in Adam," where death holds universal sway, but "in Christ," where there is "no condemnation." (Horn. 8:1; 1 Cor. 15:2222For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22) and Col. 3:11If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)). Rahab was safe when "she bound the scarlet line in the window" (chap. 2:21), but she was not "saved" till the action in chapter 6:25 had taken place.
God's grace to Rahab goes beyond her salvation from Jericho's fall. We read, "and she dwelleth in Israel." Chap. 6:25. Now, instead of being a dweller in, or citizen of, Jericho, she becomes a dweller in Israel-her citizenship is entirely of a new order and a new country. When we turn to the New Testament, we find that we who were once "dead in trespasses and sins... [and] walked according to the course of this world," not only have peace and are saved (by grace), but we are "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Eph. 2:1919Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19). Our relationships and responsibilities are wholly changed. We belong to an entirely new order of things, as it is written, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [or, 'it is a new creation']: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God." 2 Cor. 5:17, 1817Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:17‑18). We are "strangers and pilgrims" (1 Pet. 2:1111Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (1 Peter 2:11)) as to this world, and "our conversation [or rather, 'citizenship'] is in heaven." Phil. 3:2020For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20).
But Rahab's blessing does not end with her new citizenship. In 1 Chron. 2 we get the genealogical register of Judah, the royal tribe. Comparing verse 11 with Ruth 4:2121And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, (Ruth 4:21) and Matt. 1:55And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; (Matthew 1:5), we find that she was married to Salma (or Salmon), the prince of the royal tribe. Now turn to Rom. 7:44Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4) and 1 Cor. 6:17, 19, 2017But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19‑20)
, and what wondrous and precious truth is brought before us, and how calculated to speak to the heart! Beloved fellow believer, you and I are not only safe and saved, but are citizens of heaven, yes, more than that, "joined unto the Lord," "married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
Just think of and ponder over the contrast between the "harlot of Jericho" and the "wife of the prince of the royal tribe," and see therein a wondrous picture of what GRACE has done for you and me! Surely our hearts may well exclaim-
"What heights and depths of love divine, Will there through endless ages shine!"
What manner of person ought Rahab to be now, and how ought she to conduct herself? Not only old things were passed away and all things were become new, but she was a wife-her affections had been won. How would she prove that her heart had been won? Surely by seeking to please the one who had won it. Do you "know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich"? Has Jesus won your heart? Then He gives you and me an opportunity of proving it in this scene where He was once rejected and cast out. He tells us, "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." John 14:2323Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23). Among the "all things new" is the motive of the heart, for it says, "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto HIM which died for them,
been united to the One who has been raised from the dead, and the affections of the heart being exercised, that we "bring forth fruit unto God." Rom. 7:44Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4). How sweetly, then, to one walking in that spirit, come His precious words, "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor." John 12:2626If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. (John 12:26).
Finally, let us remember that "no man can serve two masters."
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him." Col. 3:1717And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17). We shall then be able truthfully to sing-
"Oh worldly pomp and glory,
Your charms are spread in vain!
I've heard a sweeter story!
I've found a truer gain!
Where Christ a place prepareth,
There is my loved abode;
There shall I gaze on Jesus!
There shall I dwell with God!"