Summary: Jesus Christ is our sure and steadfast hope
Christ Jesus, Our Anchor
September 18, 2011
Aren’t you glad that God is faithful?
The Scriptures tell us in Hebrews 6:12 to…
Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
We’re not to be lazy in doing good things and obeying God even when nothing seems to be paying off in this life. The children of God who’ve gone on before us had to wait through faith and patience. They had to trust in what they couldn’t see and sometimes they had to wait a long time.
But the good news is that they did inherit the promises just as God had said they would; not one promise failed (Josh. 23:14). This morning we’re going to look at one specific example in the life of Abraham.
The writer calls to mind the time in Abraham’s life when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham obeyed God—he took his son to the top of Mount Moriah, prepared the fire, bound his son and was just ready to run him through when God stopped him.
And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 17That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice (Gen. 22:15-18).
Now with this in mind, this is the context for the example, turn back to Hebrews 6 and let’s see how:
God swore and confirmed His promise to Abraham and his heirs (:13-17)
Don’t be slothful, but follow the example of faith and patience…
13For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
Now look: God made the promise to Abraham and He swore by Himself. Think about how many times you’ve read in the Old Testament when someone says “as surely as the Lord lives I will do such and such.” They swore a promise by someone greater than themselves.
We put our hand on the Bible and say “so help me God.”
But there is no higher power than God, and so when God says “I will do this” He says “by Myself have I sworn.”
The example of Abraham isn’t just that Abraham waited patiently in faith, but that Abraham could wait patiently in faith knowing that God had made a promise that could be counted on.
Now, in the original promise in Genesis the promise wasn’t just to Abraham but it was to all the nations of the earth which would be blessed through the One Seed: Christ.
17Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
So God made a promise to Abraham that Abraham could trust, and God wanted to show the heirs of the promise “more abundabtly” that they could trust Him, so He confirmed it by an oath. Not only did He say “I will” but He said “I swear to do this.”
He showed the heirs the immutability of His counsel—He showed them that His counsel does not change and cannot change.
Now when I think of “counsel” I tend to think of someone like Dr. Phil who gives advice and teaches people how to get along better. But that’s not the meaning of this word.
In Acts 2:23 Peter stands up and starts preaching to the mockers on the day of Pentecost. He rebukes them for killing Christ saying, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
God didn’t advise that Christ be crucified; He planned it. He set out with resolve to see it through to its completion and ordered all things to work that way:
I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure (Isaiah 46:9-10).
The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations (Ps. 33:11).