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Volume 30 - Page 119 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
The offering of Isaac.
pp. 91, 92
We may consider this chapter from two different points of view:
(1) As a record of the testing of Abraham's faith.
(2) As typical of the work of Christ.
Let us consider each of these aspects in turn.
Abraham had been declared by the Lord to be righteous as far back as Gen. 15: 6,
and Paul uses this passage in Rom. 4: as an argument for justification by faith. The
apostle James, however, after alluding to the blessedness of enduring temptation or
testing (1: 12), speaks of Abraham as being justified by works, when he had offered his
son upon the altar (2: 21-23), and says that the scripture was fulfilled, which spoke of his
justification by faith in Gen. 15: 6. So with us all--in the lawcourt of the Lord--those
who believe into Christ are legally and for ever justified and cannot possibly come into
condemnation, but, having received this new life, they must demonstrate it by love and
good works, apart from which they will fail of the enjoyment of peace with God, and also
fail with regard to future reward. Abraham's obedience, or practical righteousness,
fulfilled or manifested his imputed righteousness which he had by faith.
We must notice next the character of Abraham's testing and the nature of his
obedience. His dearest possession, the one in whom all the promises of God to him were
centred, was demanded from him without explanation. Heb. 11: 17-19 shows that
Abraham's faith was in resurrection--the key to the Christian's victory. His obedience,
also, was marked. He rose up early (verse 3) and started off unhesitatingly. Abraham
was a man of keen susceptibilities and affection, but he possessed the love and faith
which overcomes all, and puts God first. The result of this testing is seen in verses 16-18.
So, in our own time, the believer who is willing to deny himself, and take up his cross
and follow the Lord, will by no means lose his reward.
We now come to the second aspect of the passage--its typical teaching in relation to
the work of Christ. The language used concerning Isaac in verse 2 sets forth very clearly
the Lord as the only begotten and well-beloved Son of God; and the place--a mountain
in the land of Moriah--at once calls to mind the spot where, years afterwards, David
offered a sacrifice and purchased the site for the temple (II Chron. 3: 1). It also reminds
us of the "hill called Calvary", where the Lord of glory died in the place of guilty sinners.
In verse 5 the phrase "I and the lad" is suggestive of the truth that that awful
transaction on Calvary was between the Lord Jesus and His Father alone. In verse 7 we