Sabbath, July 28, 2007
“Jesus is our atoning sacrifice. We can make no atonement for ourselves; but by faith we can accept the atonement that has been made.” –The Bible Echo, March 15, 1893.
God’s Call To A Man Of Faith
1. After the dispersion from Babel, whom did God call to preserve the true faith?
Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.
“But the true faith was not to become extinct. God has ever preserved a remnant to serve Him….
“In order that God might qualify him for his great work as the keeper of the sacred oracles, Abraham must be separated from the associations of his early life. The influence of kindred and friends would interfere with the training which the Lord purposed to give His servant. Now that Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he must dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, differing from all the world. He could not even explain his course of action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were not comprehended by his idolatrous kindred.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 125, 126.
2. What wonderful promise did God give Abraham?
Genesis 12: 2, 3 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
“And to this was added the assurance, precious above every other to the inheritor of faith, that of his line the Redeemer of the world should come: ‘In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ Yet, as the first condition of fulfillment, there was to be a test of faith; a sacrifice was demanded.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 125.
The Severest Test
3. Besides the test of leaving his kindred, referred to in the note to question 2, what other test of faith did God give Abraham years later?
Genesis 22:2 And he said, 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 will tell thee of.
“Isaac was the light of his home, the solace of his old age, above all else the inheritor of the promised blessing. The loss of such a son by accident or disease would have been heart rending to the fond father; it would have bowed down his whitened head with grief; but he was commanded to shed the blood of that son with his own hand. It seemed to him a fearful impossibility.
“That command must be obeyed, and he dared not delay.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. l48.
4. At what moment did God intervene to spare Isaac’s life?
Genesis 22:10-12 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. 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.
“Abraham’s great act of faith stands like a pillar of light, illuminating the pathway of God’s servants in all succeeding ages…. Abraham was human; his passions and attachments were like ours; but he did not stop to question how the promise could be fulfilled if Isaac should be slain. He did not stay to reason with his aching heart. He knew that God is just and righteous in all His requirements, and he obeyed the command to the very letter.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 153.
5. How did the apostle James describe the faith of Abraham?
James 2:17, 21-23 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone… Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
“There are many who fail to understand the relation of faith and works. They say, ‘Only believe in Christ, and you are safe. You have nothing to do with keeping the law.’ But genuine faith will be manifest in obedience.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 153, 154.
“Faith and works go hand in hand; they act harmoniously in the work of overcoming. Works without faith are dead, and faith without works is dead. Works will never save us; it is the merit of Christ that will avail in our behalf. Through faith in Him, Christ will make all our imperfect efforts acceptable to God. The faith we are required to have is not a do-nothing faith; saving faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul.” –Faith and Works, pp. 48, 49.
6. After the deliverance of Isaac from death, why was a ram sacrificed?
Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
“The ram offered in the place of Isaac represented the Son of God, who was to be sacrificed in our stead….
“It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of redemption–to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly beings was enlisted. With intense earnestness they watched each step in the fulfillment of this command. When to Isaac’s question, ‘Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ Abraham made answer, ‘God will provide Himself a lamb;’ and when the father’s hand was stayed as he was about to slay his son, and the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of Isaac–then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, and even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful provision that God had made for man’s salvation. 1 Peter 1:12.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 154, 155.
Love And Sacrifice
7. Why did God not intervene in the sacrifice of His own dear Son?
Romans 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
1 John 4:11, 16 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
“God gave His Son to a death of agony and shame. The angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. There was no voice to cry, ‘It is enough.’…
“God desired to prove the loyalty of His servant before all heaven, to demonstrate that nothing less than perfect obedience can be accepted, and to open more fully before them the plan of salvation.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 154, 155.
8. How can we demonstrate to others that we love Jesus and appreciate His supreme sacrifice?
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
“While we are to be in harmony with God’s law, we are not saved by the works of the law, yet we cannot be saved without obedience. The law is the standard by which character is measured. But we cannot possibly keep the commandments of God without the regenerating grace of Christ. Jesus alone can cleanse us from all sin. He does not save us by law, neither will He save us in disobedience to law.” –Faith and Works, pp. 95, 96.
“Christ died a shameful death that He might bring us unto God. When the soul is persuaded that Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto Him, when it resigns itself entirely to Him as an all-sufficient Saviour, when it clings to the promises made and believes fully in Jesus, it is pronounced by God