"And being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."
After Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden tree and plunged the entire human race into sin, God promised them that He would send a Seed to bruise the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15-16); i.e. take the power of death from Satan and deliver all humanity from its bondage to sin (Heb. 2:14; 2 Pet 2:19). God repeated this promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:18), a Syrian (Deut. 26:5), whom He had chosen to be the father of His chosen people. And many centuries later God once again confirmed His promise by affirming that the just would live by faith (Hab. 2:4). Subsequently it was Abraham's faith in God's promise that he would become a father of many nations and that through his Seed all the nations would be blessed, that was accounted him for righteousness (Gen. 15:6; 22:18).
Four hundred and thirty years after Abraham had been declared righteous because of his faith, the law was given to Moses (Gal. 3:17). The law was added so that all humanity (Israel was called to share the law with all nations) would clearly see that they weren't able to keep the moral absolutes of God and needed a Savior to save them from their sin (Gal. 3:19, 24). The law wasn't meant to annul the promise of the coming Seed (Jesus Christ); instead it was meant to lead the people to Him, for it testifies about Him (John 5:39).
The law of God and faith in God's Son do not contradict each other. Both were given by God for a purpose: the law teaches us the consequence of sin, the moral demands of God, and shows us our hopeless situation so we would come to Jesus by faith (Rom. 3:23; Gal. 4:24; 6:4); faith, on the other hand, establishes the Law's commandments as holy, just and good (Rom. 3:31; 7:12) because it recognizes that the death penalty for sin, which the law inflicts, and which Jesus took upon Himself, is a righteous judgment (Lev. 19:15). Both are needed for neither makes sense without the other. If we had only the law, none of us would make it to Heaven due to our failure to keep it faithfully (Rom. 3:23); but faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus would be meaningless without the law, for it is the law that makes us sinners, in need of a Savior (Rom. 7:8).
When Abraham's faith was tested and he was told to sacrifice his "miracle" son Isaac, he believed God was able to raise his son from the dead, if necessary, to keep His promise (Heb. 11:17-19). Abraham's son didn't die that day, instead nearly two thousand years later another son, the Son of God, was sacrificed on the same hill in accordance with Abraham's words: "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided"(Gen. 22:14). God's promise to Adam and Eve was literally fulfilled on Calvary when Jesus died to take away our sin and set us free from its power.
When God makes a promise, He keeps it, for in Jesus all God's promises are Yes and the Amen (2 Cor. 1:20). As we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday this year, let us remember that because the tomb is empty, another promise is awaiting its fulfillment: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:3)
"Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20)
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