Summary: In this sermon of the sacrifice of Isaac we see a presentation of the Gospel. Most importantly we see us. We see that God is willing to provide a sacrifice for us if we are willing to put ourselves on His altar.
The Gospel According to Genesis
We often think of the Gospel as found only in the New Testament. After all, we often call it the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But listen to what the Apostle Peter has to say about the Gospel.
1 Peter 1:17-20 (NLT)
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
The first thing that Peter does in this passage of Scripture is to define for us what the Gospel is. We were lost in an empty, dead end way of life. But God paid the price to give us a better, enteral life. And that price was the sinless, spotless Lamb of God—Jesus Christ.
Next Peter tells us that the Gospel began before the creation of the world. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find the Gospel in the book of Genesis.
Jesus Christ is the central figure of world history. Not only do we see Jesus in the pages of the New Testament, but we can also see Jesus all over the pages of the Old Testament as well. This is especially true of Genesis chapter 22. Genesis chapter 22 is a prophecy of Christ and the Gospel that He would establish.
In Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, we see God the Father. In Isaac, the son of Abraham, we see Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But we are not left out of this living illustration, this prophecy, that looks forward to the New Testament Gospel. In both, Abraham and Isaac we see ourselves. We see our calling. We see our failures. And we see the hope that is ours because of our faith in God.
I. Our Faith Journey.
First, let’s look at our story in the story of Abraham. The New Testament tells us many times to look back at Abraham as our example of faith. In the passage from 1st Peter that we just read, Peter is referring to Abraham when he says:
1 Peter 1:17 (NLT)
So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”
“Foreigners in the land” is in quotation marks for a reason. Because it is a reference back to Abraham. No Jewish person, in Peter’s day, would have missed this fact. If you want to learn how to live a life of faith, then look back to Abraham. After all the book of Genesis says:
Genesis 15:6 (NLT)
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.
Because of his faith God promised Abraham many things. He promised him an inheritance to pass down to his children. He promised a land of his very own. Still today we all refer to that land as the “Promised Land.” God promised that Abraham would be a blessing to the world. And God promised Abraham a future.
Those same promises are given to us. God promises us an inheritance.
Ephesians 1:11 (NLT)
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God…
God promised us a land.
2 Peter 3:13 (NLT)
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
God promised that we would be a blessing to the world.
Acts 1:8 (NLT)
And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
And God promised us a future because of our faith in Christ.
Ephesians 4:4 (NLT)
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
So you see. All the promises given to Abraham are given to us as well. Abraham represents us.
He also represents our weaknesses. Twice Abraham doubted God’s ability to protect him.
Genesis 12:12-13 (NLT)
When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him; then we can have her!’ So please tell them you are my sister. Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.”
He thought that people would kill him because his wife was so attractive. So he lied. Twice he told people that she was his sister and that caused a lot of trouble. But his biggest failure was in not believing that God would provide an heir—a son for him. Years and years went by and no son. So he left God’s plan for his life and took matters into his own hands.