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Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/13/2011 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    JerryNumbers

    What is the meaning here?

    In Luke 16, Lazarus surely did not go to the 3rd heaven.
  2. 1 point
    Calvary

    What is the meaning here?

    Gen 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. Here stars are are not simply "stars". The later interpretation of the verse is clearly speaking of the brothers of Joseph. Jud 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Here are some stars that are not planets in the solar system. Can't understand a "star" that wanders and is reserved for a future judgment. Can you? Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Here are some stars that are angels. According to some, they might even be pastors. I don't know about that, but I do know that this verse definitely;y defines stars as angels. Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. Many say that these stars are the angels that followed Lucifer in his rebellion. I mean, it makes a lot of sense to me, but it's not enough to get upset about if someone doesn't see it that way. So, now a small, small step to... Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Job 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof ; Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? I separated the semi colon from the verse to emphasize the grammar. When, of verse 7 is connected to the previous statements that deal with the creation, When gives us the actual time frame. When is when God created the earth and his Holy Spirit, in the precise and definite KJB as you say connects the morning stars singing with creation, not salvation. They sang for joy because they lifted up their voices and praised the Lord for his greatness. They are angels. They are the sons of God. If this isn't talking about creation, I guess I'll never know what it's talking about. Before Adam, before the division of land and sea, before the light was called day. before there was Genesis 1 and 2. Yet there they are. Stars singing. Stars that in several scriptures are equated with living beings and in one verse even clearly defined as being angels. It's not a whim that makes many folks see the sons of God in Job 38 angelic beings. It's called comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. God bless, I
  3. 1 point
    heartstrings

    What is the meaning here?

    I have already mentioned the verse twice.Here's the last one again There is no definition. I do not know, That one has me stumped. I am not ignoring it. I have studied it for hours but I just do not understand it. But I will not just assume or take someone else's word for it. How do "morning stars" :sing? Were they 'angels" too? Do you understand that? I don't. So I'm not going to assume. I just don't know........yet
  4. 1 point
    Brother Rick

    What is the meaning here?

    You went right on ignoring the pre-Adamic sons of God in Job 38.
  5. 1 point
    ok . . . at first i was ready to say no way Wow - what a wonderful spirit-inspired way to deliver eternal security! i read the first chapter and i'm buying it! Blessings all around to those who read it.
  6. 1 point
    Calvary

    What is the meaning here?

    That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, That is NT salvation in a precise and clear form. One must hear the gospel before they can believe. That is where you assume that a son of God in the OT has believed what you beleive. That is not only ludicrous, it is impossible. Revisiting 1 Peter 1:10-11, OT prophets did not understand any salvation that was by faith alone in the completed sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Revelation 19 gives us the correct Bible with Bible view, and tells us that Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, This does not prove that they knew that this was the Spirit of Christ, but is only a declaration of Peter that it was actually so. It simply declares that they were speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it says nothing more and your skewered reasoning concludes the exact opposite of what the text is teaching! Peter says in verse 8 that his audience (NT Christians) has believed on Jesus and that they rejoice for that. Then he JUXTAPOSES their faith and salvation with that of the ones who verily gave the prophecies. He states in clear terms that we (NT Christians ) have received the END OF OUR FAITH, THE SALVATION OF OUR SOULS! Peter further declares that the OT prophet preached a grace that would come to us, though they possessed it not, and he says the prophet could not distinguish the difference between the 2 comings of Christ, His Advent and His Second Coming. There is nothing to indicate that the prophet had believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and your fixating upon a phrase in the text to the exclusion of the context has served only to present yourself with a pretext. I repeat, again, your free dealing with context has led you into an erroneous conclusion. Looking at the Ephesians 1 again - then compare to John 1:12, which you are fond of quoting. In order to become a son of God one must receive the Lord Jesus. No OT saint ever received a Savior that had not yet died for his sins. Paul equates receiving the gospel with believing the simple components of the message, 1, that Jesus died for your sins, according to the scriptures, that 2, he was buried and 3, he rose again. Paul says that by believing THAT message one could be saved and stand. Your insistence that in the OT there were sons of God in the sense of John 1, or 1 John is very poor reasoning. 1 Peter is stating that these OT prophets could not distinguish the significance of the sufferings of Christ or the glory to follow. His sufferings were the cross, his glory is not yet been fulfilled. The simple question is if one could not grasp the significance of the sufferings of Christ how does one believe on that for salvation? It is none other than Paul that declares that a belief on that gospel message is essential for salvation. Yet you have people saved that do not meet the requirements of NT salvation having not heard this message, therefore having not believed what is required and yet you commend to them ignorance while being saved. You stated that many folks get saved without understanding the gospel. The Bible says that you are dead wrong on that assertion. No one could be saved in the NT sense without having heard the message of the gospel and believing that message. God bless, Calvary
  7. 1 point
    If a church consistently preaches AGAINST homosexuality as it should, I doubt very seriously that any sodomites will even want to join. Banning interracial couples and preventing a 'gay couple' from joining are two very different things because there is biblical basis for preaching against homosexuality; absolutely NONE for preaching against interracial marriage. If we're going to be persecuted and evil spoken of, let it be for righteousness sake. and not because we've backslid to the level of being like a bunch of proud Pharisees hating on "Samaritans".
  8. 1 point
    John, you're right....but its still unBiblical for that church to make that decision. Doesn't affect me, doesn't matter, but their decision is not based on Bible.
  9. 1 point
    Appalling and unBiblical.
  10. 1 point
    Matthew 5:14-16 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. I think it's our responsibility to be the Christians that God expects us to be. Granted, the one-world government is coming, and the stage is being set for it even today; however, we are to do what we know we should do. Unfortunately, the vast majority of professing Christians are content to sit idly by while the world plunges headlong into hell. We can't stop it from coming, but we can do our part to witness, be light and salt, and warn others. I'm glad that I'm saved and won't be here during the one-world government...
  11. 1 point
    Fantasy and Sci-Fi can overlap, but the distinct difference is that Sci-Fi has to try at least to be based somewhat in reality. An example is Star Trek: theoretically, if you could dematerialize people and turn them into energy, you could also shoot them across space like you would a radio signal and then rematerialize them on the other side - i.e. beam me up, Scotty. Also, I think the idea for the faster-than-light warp drive propulsion system is based in Einstein's theory of space wormholes: go through a hole on one side of space and pop out the other. I think warp drives regulate matter and anti-matter, or something like that, and create a wormhole for the ship to fly through and then come out the other side. I might be wrong, I don't know for sure. Time-travel stories are Sci-Fi because there is an actual theory for time travel that I think Einstein came up with as well. The point is, even though Sci-Fi mangles and bends real science – it is supposed to be based loosely in science and therefore it has some rules it is somewhat accountable to. Star Wars, the other side of the coin, even though it looks like Sci-Fi, is actually fantasy. The popular mantras, "The force be with you..." and "a long time ago in a faraway place..." all speak of a time and world that is not our own, and "the force" is a religion whereas there is no religion, per se, in Star Trek (other than Evolution, sadly enough). The Star Wars universe is not based in the future, but Star Trek is. The world of Star Wars, being fantasy, can do whatever it wants because it’s not based on science at all. I think I just revealed my inner nerd.
  12. 1 point
    Abraham's Offering Up His Son Isaac By George Whitfield (HTML version ©2010 Baptist-City.com) Used with permission. Genesis 22:12 — “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him, for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from me.” The great Apostle Paul, in one of his epistles, informs us, that “whatsoever was written aforetime was written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the holy scripture might have hope.” And as without faith it is impossible to please God, or be accepted in Jesus, the Son of his love; we may be assured, that whatever instances of a more than common faith are recorded in the book of God, they were more immediately designed by the Holy Spirit for our learning and imitation, upon whom the ends of the world are come. For this reason, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, in the 11th chapter, mentions such a nOBle catalogue of Old Testament saints and martyrs, “who subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, etc. and are gone before us to inherit the promises.” A sufficient confutation, I think, of their error, who lightly esteem the Old Testament saints, and would not have them mentioned to Christians, as persons whose faith and patience we are called upon more immediately to follow. If this was true, the apostle would never have produced such a cloud of witnesses out of the Old Testament, to excite the Christians of the first, and consequently purest age of the church, to continue steadfast and unmoveable in the profession of their faith. Amidst this catalogue of saints, methinks the patriarch Abraham shines the brightest, and differs from the others, as one star differeth from another star in glory; for he shone with such distinguished luster, that he was called the “friend of God,” the “father of the faithful;” and those who believe on Christ, are said to be “sons and daughters of, and to be blessed with, faithful Abraham.” Many trials of his faith did God send this great and good man, after he had commanded him to get out from his country, and from his kindred, unto a land which he should show him; but the last was the most sever of all, I mean, that of offering up his only son. This, by the divine assistance, I propose to make the subject of your present meditation, and, by way of conclusion, to draw some practical inferences, as God shall enable me, from this instructive story. The sacred penman begins the narrative thus; verse 1. “And it came to pass, after these things, God did tempt Abraham.” After these things, that it, after he had underwent many severe trials before, after he was old, full of days, and might flatter himself perhaps that the troubles and toils of life were now finished; “after these things, God did tempt Abraham.” Christians, you know not what trials you may meet with before you die: notwithstanding you may have suffered, and been tried much already, yet, it may be, a greater measure is still behind, which you are to fill up. “Be not high-minded, but fear.” Our last trials, in all prOBability, will be the greatest: and we can never say our warfare is accomplished, or our trials finished, till we bow down our heads, and give up the ghost. “And it came to pass, after these things, that God did tempt Abraham.” “God did tempt Abraham.” But can the scripture contradict itself? Does not the apostle James tell us, “that God tempts no man;” and God does tempt no man to evil, or on purpose to draw him into sin; for, when a man is thus tempted, he is drawn away of his own heart's lust, and enticed. But in another sense, God may be said to tempt, I mean, to try his servants; and in this sense we are to understand that passage of Matthew, where we are told, that, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit (the good Spirit) into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil.” And our Lord, in that excellent form of prayer which he has been pleased to give us, does not require us to pray that we may not absolutely be led into temptation, but delivered from the evil of it; whence we may plainly infer, that God sees it fit sometimes to lead us into temptation, that is, to bring us into such circumstances as will try our faith and other Christian graces. In this sense we are to understand the expression before us; “God did tempt or try Abraham.” 1 Full Text: Genesis 22:1–12. How God was pleased to reveal his will at this time to his faithful servant, whether by the Sheckinah, or divine appearance, or by a small still voice, as he spoke to Elijah, or by a whisper, like that of the Spirit to Philip, when he commanded him to join himself to the eunuch's chariot, we are not told, nor is it material to inquire. It is enough that we are informed, God said unto him, Abraham; and that Abraham knew it was the voice of God: for he said, “Behold, here I am.” O what a holy familiarity (if I may so speak) is there between God and those holy souls that are united to him by faith in Christ Jesus! God says, Abraham; and Abraham said (it should seem without the least surprise) Behold, here I am. Being reconciled to God by the death and OBedience of Christ, which he rejoiced in, and saw by faith afar off; he did not, like guilty Adam, seed the trees of the garden to hide himself from, but takes pleasure in conversing with God, and talketh with him, as a man talketh with his friend. O that Christ-less sinners knew what it is to have fellowship with the Father and the Son! They would envy the happiness of saints, and count it all joy to be termed enthusiasts and fools for Christ's sake. But what does God say to Abraham? Verse 2. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I shall tell thee of.” Every word deserves our particular OBservation. Whatever he was to do, he must do it now, immediately, without conferring with flesh and blood. But what must he do? “Take now thy son.” Had God said, take now a firstling, or choicest lamb or beast of thy flock, and offer it up for a burnt-offering, it would not have appeared so ghastly; but for God to say, “take now thy son, and offer him up for a burnt-offering,” one would imagine, was enough to stagger the strongest faith. But this is not all: it must not only be a son, but “thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” If it must be a son, and not a beast, that must be offered, why will not Ishmael do, the son of the bond-woman? No, it must be his only son, the heir of all, his Isaac, by interpretation laughter, the son of his old age, in whom his soul delighted, “whom thou lovest,” says God, in whose life his own was wrapped up: and this son, this only son, this Isaac, the son of his love, must be taken now, even now, without delay, and be offered up by his own father, for a burnt offering, upon one of the mountains of the which God would tell him. Well might the apostle, speaking of this man of God, say, that “against hope he believed in hope, and, being strong in faith, gave glory to God.” For, had he not been blessed with faith which man never before had, he must have refused to comply with this severe command. For now many arguments might nature suggest, to prove that such a command could never come from God, or to excuse himself from OBeying it? “What! (might the good man have said) butcher my own child! It is contrary to the very law of nature: much more to butcher my dear son Isaac, in whose seed God himself has assured me of a numerous posterity. But supposing I could give up my own affections, and be willing to part with him, though I love him so dearly, yet, if I murder him, what will become of God's promise? Besides, I am now like a city built upon a hill; I shine as a light in the world, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: How then shall I cause God's name to be blasphemed, how shall I become a by-word among the heathen, if they hear that I have committed a crime which they abhor! But, above all, what will Sarah my wife say? How can I ever return to her again, after I have imbrued (to wet or stain) my hands in my dear child's blood? O that God would pardon me in this thing, or take my life in the place of my son's!” Thus, I say, Abraham might have argued, and that too seemingly with great reason, against complying with the divine command. But as before by faith he considered not the deadness of Sarah's womb, when she was past age, but believed on him, who said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed;” so now, being convinced that the same God spoke to and commanded him to offer up that son, and knowing that God was able to raise him from the dead, without delay he OBeys the heavenly call. O that unbelievers would learn of faithful Abraham, and believe whatever is revealed from God, though they cannot fully comprehend it! Abraham knew God commanded him to offer up his son, and therefore believed, notwithstanding carnal reasoning might suggest may OBjections. We have sufficient testimony, that God has spoken to us by his son; why should we not also believe, though many things in the New Testament are above our reason? For, where reason ends, faith begins. And, however infidels may stile themselves reasoners, of all men they are the most unreasonable: For, is it not contrary to all reason, to measure an infinite by a finite understanding, or think to find out the mysteries of godliness to perfection? But to return to the patriarch Abraham: We OBserved before what plausible OBjections he might have made; but he answered not a single word: no, without replying against his Maker, we are told, verse 3, that “Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt- offering, and rose up and went unto the place of which God had told him.” From this verse we may gather, that God spoke to Abraham in a dream, or vision of the night: For it is said, he rose up early. Perhaps it was near the fourth watch of the night, just before break of day, when God said, Take now thy son; and Abraham rises up early to do so; as I doubt not but he used to ruse early to offer up his morning-sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is often remarked of people in the Old Testament, that they rose early in the morning; and particularly of our Lord in the New, that he rose a great while before day to pray. The morning befriends devotion; and, if people cannot use so much self-denial as to rise early to pray, I know not how they will be able to die at a stake (if called to it) for Jesus Christ. The humility as well as the piety of the patriarch is OBservable: he saddled his own ass (great men should be humble) and to show the sincerity, though he took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, yet he keeps his design as a secret from them all: nay, he does not so much as tell Sarah his wife; for he knew not but she might be a snare unto him in this affair; and, as Rebekah afterwards, on another occasion, advised JacOB to flee, so Sarah also might persuade Isaac to hide himself; or the young men, had they known of it, might have forced him away, as in after-ages the soldiers rescued Jonathan out of the hands of Saul. But Abraham fought no such evasion, and therefore, like an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile, he himself resolutely “clave the wood for the burnt-offering, rose up and went unto the place of which God had told him.” In the second verse God commanded him to offer up his son upon one of the mountains which he would tell him of. He commanded him to offer his son up, but would not then directly tell him the place where: this was to keep him dependent and watching unto prayer: for there is nothing like being kept waiting upon God; and, if we do, assuredly God will reveal himself unto us yet further in his own time. Let us practice what we know, follow providence so far as we can see already; and what we know not, what we see not as yet, let us only be found in the way of duty, and the Lord will reveal even that unto us. Abraham knew not directly where he was to offer up his son; but he rises up and sets forward, and behold now God shows him: “And he went to the place of which God had told him.” Let us go and do likewise. Verse 4. “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” So that the place, of which God had told him, was no less than three days journey distant from the place where God first appeared to him, and commanded him to take his son. Was not this to try his faith, and to let him see that what he did, was not merely from a sudden pang of devotion, but a matter of choice of deliberation? But who can tell what the aged patriarch felt during these three days? Strong as he was in faith, I am persuaded his bowels often yearned over his dear son Isaac. Methinks I see the good old man walking with his dear child in his hand, and now and then looking upon him, loving him, and then turning aside to weep. And perhaps, sometimes he stays a little behind to pour out his heart before God, for he had no mortal to tell his case to. Then, methinks, I see him join his son and servants again, and talking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, as they walked by the way. At length, “on the third day, he lifts up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.” And, to show that he was yet sincerely resolved to do whatsoever the Lord requested of him, he even how will not discover his design to his servants, but “said, verse 5. To his young men,” (as we should say to our worldly thoughts, when about to tread the courts of the Lord's house) “Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go up yonder and worship, and come again to you.” This was a sufficient reason for their staying behind; and, it being their master's custom to go frequently to worship, they could have no suspicion of what he was going about. And by Abraham's saying, that he and the lad would come again, I am apt to think he believed God would raise him from the dead, if so be he permitted him to offer his child up for a burnt-offering. However that be, he is yet resolved to OBey God to the uttermost; and therefore, Verse 6. “Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and they went both of them together.” Little did Isaac think that he was to be offered on that very wood which he was carrying upon his shoulders; and therefore Isaac innocently, and with a holy freedom (for good men should not keep their children at too great a distance) “spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father; and he (with equal affection and holy condescension) said, Here am I, my son.” And to show how careful Abraham had been (as all Christian parents ought to do) to instruct his Isaac how to sacrifice to God, like a youth trained up in the way wherein he should go; Isaac said, “Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” How beautiful is early piety! How amiable, to hear young people ask questions about sacrificing to God in an acceptable way! Isaac knew very well that a lamb was wanting, and that a lamb was necessary for a proper sacrifice: “Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” Young men and maidens, learn of him. Hitherto, it is plain, Isaac knew nothing of his father's design: but I believe, by what his father said in answer to his question, that now was the time Abraham revealed it unto him. Verse 8. “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a Lamb for a burnt-offering.” Some think, that Abraham by faith saw the Lord Jesus afar off, and here spoke prophetically of that Lamb of God already slain in decree, and hereafter to be actually offered up for sinners. This was a lamb of God's providing indeed (we dared not have thought of it) to satisfy his own justice, and to render him just in justifying the ungodly. What is all our fire and wood, the best preparations and performances we can make or present, unless God had provided himself this Lamb for a burnt-offering? He could not away with them. The words will well hear this interpretation. But, whatever Abraham might intend, I cannot but think he here made an application, and acquainted his son, of God's dealing with his soul; and at length, with tears in his eyes, and the utmost affection in his heart, cried out, “Thou art to be the lamb, my Son;” God has commanded me to provide thee for a burnt-offering, and to offer thee upon the mountain which we are now ascending. And, as it appears from a subsequent verse, Isaac, convinced that it was the divine will, made no resistance at all; For it is said, “They went both of them together;” and again, when we are told, that Abraham bound Isaac, we do not hear of his complaining, or endeavoring to escape, which he might have done, being (as some think) near thirty years of age, and, it is plain, capable of carrying wood enough for a burnt-offering. But he was partaker of the like precious faith with his aged father, and therefore is as willing to be offered, as Abraham is to offer him: And “so they went both of them together.” Ver. 9. At length “they came to the place of which God had told Abraham. He built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.” And here let us pause a while, and by faith take a view of the place where the father has laid him. I doubt not but that blessed angels hovered round the altar, and sang. “Glory be to God in the highest,” for giving such faith to man. Come, all ye tender hearted parents, who know what it is to look over a dying child: fancy that you saw the altar erected before you, and the wood laid in order, and the beloved Isaac bound upon it: fancy that you saw the aged parent standing by weeping. (For, why may we not suppose that Abraham wept, since Jesus himself wept at the grave of Lazarus?) O what pious, endearing expressions passed now alternately between the father and the son! Joseph records a pathetic speech made by each, whether genuine I now not: but methinks I see the tears trickle down the Patriarch Abraham's cheeks; and out of the abundance of the heart, he cries, Adieu, adieu, my son; the Lord gave thee to me, and the Lord calls thee away; blessed be the name of the Lord: adieu, my Isaac, my only son, whom I love as my own soul; adieu, adieu. I see Isaac at the same time meekly resigning himself into his heavenly Father's hands, and praying to the most High to strengthen his earthly parent to strike the stroke. But why do I attempt to describe what either son or father felt? It is impossible: we may indeed form some faint idea of, but shall never full comprehend it, till we come and sit down with them in the kingdom of heaven, and hear them tell the pleasing story over again. Hasten, O Lord, that blessed time! O let thy kingdom come! And now, the fatal blow is going to be given. “And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.” But do you not think he intended to turn away his head, when he gave the blow? Nay, why may we not suppose he sometimes drew his hand in, after it was stretched out, willing to take another last farewell of his beloved Isaac, and desirous to defer it a little, though resolved at last to strike home? Be that is it will, his arm is now stretched out, the knife is in his hand, and he is about to put it to his dear son's throat. But sing, O heavens! and rejoice, O earth! Man's extremity is God's opportunity: for behold, just as the knife, in all prOBability, was near his throat, ver. 11, “the angel of the Lord, (or rather the Lord of angels, Jesus Christ, the angel of the everlasting covenant) called unto him, (prOBably in a very audible manner) from heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham. (The word is doubled, to engage his attention; and perhaps the suddenness of the call made him draw back his hand, just as he was going to strike his son.) And Abraham said, Here am I.” “And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now know I that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Here then it was that Abraham received his son Isaac from the dead in a figure. He was in effect offered upon the altar, and God looked upon him as offered and given unto him. Now it was that Abraham's faith, being tried, was found more precious than gold purified seven times in the fire. Now as a reward of grace, though not of debt, for this signal act of OBedience, by an oath, God gives and confirms the promise, “that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed,” ver. 17, 18. With what comfort may we suppose the good old man and his son went down from the mount, and returned unto the young men! With what joy may we imagine he went home, and related all that had passed to Sarah! And above all, with what triumph is he now exulting in the paradise of God, and adoring rich, free, distinguishing, electing, everlasting love, which alone made him to differ from the rest of mankind, and rendered him worthy of that title which he will have so long as the sun and the moon endure, “The Father of the faithful!” But let us now draw our eyes from the creature, and do what Abraham, if he was present, would direct to; I mean, fix them on the Creator, God blessed for evermore. I see your hearts affected, I see your eyes weep. (And indeed, who can refrain weeping at the relation of such a story?) But, behold, I show you a mystery, hid under the sacrifice of Abraham's only son, which, unless your hearts are hardened, must cause you to weep tears of love, and that plentifully too. I would willingly hope you even prevent me here, and are ready to say, “It is the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to die for our sins.” Yes; that is it. And yet perhaps you find your hearts, at the mentioning of this, not so much affected. Let this convince you, that we are all fallen creatures, and that we do not love God or Christ as we ought to do: for, if you admire Abraham offering up his Isaac, how much more ought you to extol, magnify and adore the love of God, who so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son Christ Jesus our Lord, “that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life?” May we not well cry out, Now know we, O Lord, that thou hast loved us, since thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from us! Abraham was God's creature (and God was Abraham's friend) and therefore under the highest OBligation to surrender up his Isaac. But O stupendous love! Whilst we were his enemies, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might become a curse for us. O the freeness, as well as the infinity, of the love of God our Father! It is unsearchable: I am lost in contemplating it; it is past finding out. Think, O believers, think of the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to be a propitiation for our sins. And when you hear how Abraham built an altar, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood; think how your heavenly Father bound Jesus Christ his only Son, and offered him upon the altar of his justice, and laid upon him the iniquities of us all. When you read of Abraham's stretching forth his hand to slay his son, Think, O think, how God actually suffered his Son to be slain, that we might live for evermore. Do you read of Isaac carrying the wood upon his shoulders, upon which he was to be offered? Let this lead you to mount Calvary (this very mount of Moriah where Isaac was offered, as some think) and take a view of the antitype Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bearing and ready to sink under the weight of that cross, on which he was to hang for us. Do you admire Isaac so freely consenting to die, though a creature, and therefore OBliged to go when God called? O do not forget to admire infinitely more the dear Lord Jesus, that promised seed, who willingly said, “Lo, I come,” though under no OBligation so to do, “to do thy will,” to OBey and die for men, “O God!” Did you weep just now, when I bid you fancy you saw the altar, and the wood laid in order, and Isaac laid bound on the altar? Look by faith, behold the blessed Jesus, our all-glorious Emmanuel, not bound, but nailed on a accursed tree: see how he hangs crowned with thorns, and had in derision of all that are round about him: see how the thorns pierce him, and how the blood in purple streams trickle down his sacred temples! Hark how the God of nature groans! See how he bows his head, and at length humanity gives up the ghost! Isaac is saved, but Jesus, the God of Isaac, dies; A ram is offered up in Isaac's room, but Jesus has no substitute; Jesus must bleed, Jesus must die; God the Father provided this Lamb for himself from all eternity. He must be offered in time, or man must be damned for evermore. And now, where are your tears? Shall I say, refrain your voice from weeping? No; rather let me exhort you to look to him whom you have pierced, and mourn, as a woman mourneth for her first-born: for we have been the betrayers, we have been the murderers of this Lord of glory; and shall we not bewail those sins, which brought the blessed Jesus to the accursed tree? Having so much done, so much suffered for us, so much forgiven, shall we not love much! O! let us love Him with all our hearts, and minds, and strength, and glorify him in our souls and bodies, for they are his. Which leads me to a second inference I shall draw from the foregoing discourse. From hence we may learn the nature of true, justifying faith. Whoever understands and preaches the truth, as it is in Jesus, must acknowledge, that salvation is God's free gift, and that we are saved, not by any or all the works of righteousness which we have done or can do: no; we can neither wholly nor in part justify ourselves in the light of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is our righteousness; and if we are accepted with God, it must be only in and through the personal righteousness, the active and passive OBedience, of Jesus Christ his beloved Son. This righteousness must be imputed, or counted over to us, and applied by faith to our hearts, or else we can in no wise be justified in God's sight: and that very moment a sinner is enabled to lay hold on Christ's righteousness by faith, he is freely justified from all his sins, and shall never enter into condemnation, notwithstanding he was a fire-brand of hell before. Thus is was that Abraham was justified before he did any good work: he was enabled to believe on the Lord Christ; it was accounted to him for righteousness; that is, Christ's righteousness was made over to him, and so accounted his. This, this is the gospel; this is the only was of finding acceptance with God: good works have nothing to do with our justification in his sight. We are justified by faith alone, as saith the article of our church; agreeable to which the apostle Paul says, “By grace ye are saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Notwithstanding, good works have their proper place: they justify our faith, though not our persons; they follow it, and evidence our justification in the sight of men. Hence it is that the apostle James asks, was not Abraham justified by works? (alluding no doubt to the story on which we have been discoursing) that is, did he not prove he was in a justified state, because his faith was productive of good works? This declarative justification in the sight of men, is what is directly to be understood in the words of the text; “Now know I, says God, that thou fearest me, since thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Not but that God knew it before; but this is spoken in condescension to our weak capacities, and plainly shows, that his offering up his son was accepted with God, as an evidence of the sincerity of his faith, and for this, was left on record to future ages. Hence then you may learn, whether you are blessed with, and are sons and daughters of, faithful Abraham. You say you believe; you talk of free grace and free justification: you do well; the devils also believe and tremble. But has the faith, which you pretend to, influenced your hearts, renewed your souls, and, like Abraham's, worked by love? Are you affections, like his, set on things above? Are you heavenly-minded, and like him, do you confess yourselves strangers and pilgrims on the earth? In short, has your faith enabled you to overcome the world, and strengthened you to give up your Isaacs, your laughter, your most beloved lusts, friends, pleasures, and profits for God? If so, take the comfort of it; for justly may you say, “We know assuredly, that we do fear and love God, or rather are loved of him.” But if you are only talking believers, have only a faith of the head, and never felt the power of it in your hearts, however you may bolster yourselves up, and say, “We have Abraham for our father, or Christ is our Savior,” unless you get a faith of the heart, a faith working by love, you shall never sit with Abraham, Isaac, JacOB, or Jesus Christ, in the kingdom of heaven. But I must draw one more inference, and with that I shall conclude. Learn, O saints! From what has been said, to sit loose to all your worldly comforts; and stand ready prepared to part with everything, when God shall require it at your hand. Some of you perhaps may have friends, who are to you as your own souls; and others may have children, in whose lives your own lives are bound up: all I believe have their Isaacs, their particular delights of some kind or other. Labor, for Christ's sake, labor, ye sons and daughters of Abraham, to resign them daily in affection to God, that, when he shall require you really to sacrifice them, you may not confer with flesh and blood, any more than the blessed patriarch now before us. And as for you that have been in any measure tried like unto him, let his example encourage and comfort you. Remember, Abraham your father was tried so before you: think, O think of the happiness he now enjoys, and how he is incessantly thanking God for tempting and trying him when here below. Look up often by the eye of faith, and see him sitting with his dearly beloved Issac in the world of spirits. Remember, it will be but a little while, and you shall sit with them also, and tell one another what God has done for your souls. There I hope to sit with you, and hear this story of his offering up his Son from his own mouth, and to praise the Lamb that sitteth upon the throne, for what he hath done for all or souls, for ever and ever.
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