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#376 GEN 22 THE LOVE OF THE FATHER

"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test, or prove] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 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," GEN 22:1-2.

Many people have stumbled over the word "tempt." When you take it out of the original, it means "test or prove." In the book of James, we read that "God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man," JAM 1:13. We must not interpret the above verse to say that God tempted Abraham to sin. Rather, it means to test, to prove, to try his faith.

God said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest." We start to understand the significance of the parental relationship between God and His dear children. As God brings trials upon His dear children and we become conformed to the blessed image of Christ, drawn back into union and communion with God, we see that God deals with us as sons, whom He loves. There is a parental relationship between God and His church. God uses the relationship between Abraham and Isaac as an illustration of the love that He had for His church when He gave His Son for His dear children.

The expression, "after these things," brings us back to what is recorded in chapter 21, i.e., the birth of Isaac, which is a remarkable type or symbol of the work of regeneration. New life, Isaac, was brought forth from a dead womb in the same way that regeneration is the quickening of a new nature, a new spiritual life wherein we were dead. This new trial of offering up Isaac came "after these things," after Abraham had had all the other trials and circumstances that had already tried the extreme of his faith. Now we see the climax or the greatest trial.

Our attention is fixed on what Sarah told Abraham in GEN 21:10: "Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac." Note that the emphasis lies on the inheritance. When Sarah said, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son," the issue was that the bondwoman and her son were not to remain there as a co-inheritor with her son.

Each one of Abraham's sons was to have an inheritance, but they are not co-heirs of the same inheritance. The son of the bondwoman does not share in the inheritance of the son of the free woman. Jesus spoke a parable to show how all men have a reward, but the reward of the righteous is not the same as that of the wicked. We see that illustrated here. Abraham’s son after the flesh also had a reward, an inheritance, but it was not to share the inheritance of Isaac.

Jesus gave the parable in LUK 16:22-25 to show that the rich man and Lazarus each had their own reward. "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented."

Notice the distinction between the inheritance of Lazarus and the rich man. Abraham said to the rich man, "Remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." The rich man had served the world; he served the flesh. He had his "good things" in this life, and "likewise, Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou are tormented."

See also the distinction in the inheritance between Ishmael and the son of promise. They each have their reward. The reward of the rich man was not the same as the reward of Lazarus. In this life, he had his "good thing" where Lazarus had evil things. For the elect’s sake, God causes His common graces to come upon both the righteous and the wicked. We see there are areas where there are no distinctions. There are common graces that the righteous and the wicked share alike. The distinction is in the inheritance. For the elect’s sake, God causes these common graces.

Take note of GEN 21:11-12: "And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. [In other words, when Sarah told him to cast out the bondwoman and her son because he was not to inherit with her son, it was very grievous to Abraham because Ishmael was his son.] And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. [That is where the real inheritance lay.] And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed." Even though Ishmael was the son of a bondwoman, because he was Abraham’s seed, he would also become a great nation.

The Arabs today are the generation of Ishmael. They are also a great nation. But see the distinction in their inheritance. They have rejected the faith. They have absolutely despised the Saviour. They have no inheritance in Christ, in the Son of David, but because they were the seed of Abraham, they also have their inheritance. Their inheritance is in this lifetime. It is just like the situation with the rich man and Lazarus. The inheritance of Ishmael is like the inheritance of the rich man, "thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things."

Ishmael, because he is the seed of Abraham, will in this life be given his temporal blessing, his common graces. This teaches us a very important principle, which we find in

MAT 5:43-45: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." See the common graces. The inheritance of Ishmael in the way of common grace has no distinction from the son of promise. But we are not to judge who are the sons of promise and who are those of the seed after the flesh. Therefore the Lord commands us, "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, [Bless means to speak well of. In other words, while they are slandering us and persecuting us, we are speaking well of them. Charity means to see every person in the best possible light. This is the grace of God when we are able to love our enemies and to speak well of those who slander and curse us.]

do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven."

This is our calling in grace, that we "may be the children of (our) Father which is in heaven," because/or "for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good." We must bestow our praise and our blessing and our prayers upon those who slander and curse us. We don’t know but that by heaping these coals of love upon their head, the Lord might use that to melt their hardness and to bring them to repentance. They may be heirs of the same inheritance that we are.

The Lord often uses these trials to try us. Are we able to put our Isaac on the altar? Are we able to allow our name to be slandered and blasphemed? Are we able to stand persecution and pray for and bless those who persecute us? That is the call that Abraham had. He had to put his all on the altar.

The seed of Abraham after the flesh may well share in God's common graces, but the name Isaac stands for sonship. The name Isaac means he is of the sons of God ("that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven"). Therefore only the spiritual family of God have the title of heirs of the promise. This is why Abraham had to separate Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac was to be the heir of the promise, not Ishmael. His portion, his inheritance, was in this life.

In ROM 8:17, we read, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." The name Isaac denotes sonship; he was a child. He was one of the dear children of God. Do you see where the inheritance lies? We inherit the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our heritage. He is our promise. He is that for which we live. We are to be joint-heirs with Christ. That’s where sonship comes in. We are those who have the inheritance of Isaac, in which Ishmael was not to share. That’s why Sarah said, "Cast out this bondwoman" because her son would not inherit with Isaac. And the Lord said to Abraham, "Do as Sarah has told you."

We are to be "joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." While we’re being persecuted and slandered, brought down, we bless because we suffer with Him. We must fellowship in the suffering of Christ. That doesn’t mean that we suffer like He suffered. That means we suffer in the spirit and the attitude in which he suffered. We are able to say, "Father, Thy will be done." We are able to pray for those who are hanging us upon the cross. When the Lord Jesus was hanging upon the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do," LUK 23:34. That’s what it means to suffer with Him. If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him.

The descendants of Abraham after the flesh shall not inherit together with those who are his spiritual seed. See this in GAL 4:22-23: "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise." Not only was his inheritance in the things of this life, but he was born after the flesh. He had a spirit of the flesh. Isaac was born after the spirit. Isaac lived by the spirit of the law, and Ishmael lived after the flesh.

These things also teach us how diametrically opposed their interests were. So many people cannot understand, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," ROM 9:l3. The thing we don’t understand is that their interests were diametrically opposed. One interest is totally after the inheritance of the flesh. Everything in the heart’s desire is to build an empire in this world, while those who are born after the promise are able to give up the things of this life. They are able to crucify the things of the flesh, and their inheritance is an eternal inheritance. Their inheritance is to be with the Lord.

Note GAL 4:28-29: "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Their interests were so opposed. They were as far apart as the east is from the west. One was persecuted by the other. This can be true in the church; this can be done in the way of worship. It can be done in a professed church because they are building themselves a church. Christ’s children are building the church of Christ.

The close of chapter 21 is also significant when viewed symbolically. Remember the Old Testament is very much symbolical. GEN 21:33 states, "And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God." Take notice of GEN 22:l9 after the trial, "Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba, And it came to pass after these things, that it was told Abraham saying, Behold, Milcah, she hath also born children unto thy brother Nahor." See that after the trial, he returned to Beersheba. What is significant about Beersheba? It says that "Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God." This marked the transition from being a stranger to one who takes possession. Abraham was a stranger in the land of Canaan. The only possession he had there was a burial place. After this happened, Abraham was driving his stakes for Isaac. This marked the transition. He planted trees, and the planting of trees is a symbol of long possession. See this in ISA 65:21-23: "And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. [The planting of this grove was the symbol of taking possession, of driving his stakes in, of setting up a place to dwell. He now becomes an inhabitant of the land.] They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them."

This planting of the grove, taking possession, pointed to the fact that Isaac would dwell there. Isaac now has become mature, no longer a child. When Abraham planted this grove in Beersheba he called upon the name of the Lord, the everlasting God. This speaks of long endurance, which also points to a settled, secure continuance. In PSA 102:25-28, we read, "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: [When Abraham refers to the everlasting God, he’s also speaking of long endurance.] yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee." The emphasis lies in the fact that as Abraham came from this trial, he was coming to the place of endurance.

After "these things," after Abraham had by faith taken possession for his son, Isaac, God did try, or prove Abraham.

It was after Abraham had waited 25 years for this very son that he must now offer him as a burnt sacrifice. It was after Abraham had waited all his life. It was after the Lord had granted that promise of a son and after Ishmael had been sent away, and Abraham now looked at Isaac as his only son. It was after "these things" that the Lord said, "Offer up your son."

It was after so many promises that in Isaac his seed would be blessed, as we see in GEN 21:12: "And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called." On the basis of this promise, he sent away Ishmael. He sent away his bondwoman. It was after he had sent them away that hope was raised to its highest point. In fact, hope had been turned into enjoyment. Isaac had become a reality and had grown to be a young man.

Who wouldn’t have thought that Abraham had stood his final trial and that his faith had been proven, that the promise had become reality? Yet, the sorest trial of his whole life was still unknown. Abraham now had to be the priest to offer up his own son for a burnt offering. This was a staggering request! Abraham was called upon not only to give up his son, but he must be the priest to lay his own son on the altar. Where now are all the promises? In Isaac shall your seed be called; in Isaac shall be your Messiah; in Isaac is all your salvation.

Look at the climax to which this brought Abraham. When Ishmael was thirteen years old, Abraham would have been content without another son. We see that in GEN 17:17-18: "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!" Abraham, at that point, was content to accept Ishmael as his son and not to have another son. But now Ishmael had been sent away, and Isaac has been born and was entwined around his father's heart. Abraham, as priest, must lay this son upon the altar.

As pointed out before, Abraham is the father of all those who believe. The emptying process that God uses in the way of grace is to bring us to the point where we are absolutely and totally empty. He empties us from vessel into vessel. In the process of making wine, every time the vessel is emptied, dregs and sediment are always left in the bottom of the bottle. Each time, however, that the bottle is emptied into another bottle, there are fewer dregs left behind. When the Lord takes the wine and pours it into the last bottle, the one before is completely empty. There’s not one dreg left. As the Lord empties us from vessel into vessel, i.e. brings us from one trial into another trial, each time the trial is more severe. He empties us more than He did the time before. Abraham was emptied to the last drop. Abraham now understood "after these things," after all these trials, after he had been emptied so often, that now he had received Isaac and must put him on the altar. That’s how God works grace in our hearts. As the Lord brings us to the point of spiritual maturity, every time He empties us, every time we go through another trial, He is bringing us to complete emptiness. He leaves nothing but to cling to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus becomes everything.

Ishmael had been sent away, and Isaac was all Abraham had, and he must be put on the altar, GEN 22:1-2: "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 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." "After these things," after the Lord had allowed Isaac to become so totally a part of Abraham’s heart and everything was bound up in Isaac, now Isaac was to be placed on the altar. Emptying this last time was the most severe trial that Abraham had ever endured. That’s the way the Lord works His grace in our hearts. Every trial is a more severe trial.

Now, the Lord came to Abraham and said, "Take now thy son, thine only son, [The Lord referred to Isaac as Abraham’s only son because Ishmael had been sent away.] whom thou lovest." [The Lord was bringing to Abraham’s attention that his love for Isaac is entwined in his heart.] The trial lay in the question, "Would he obey?"

Rebellion brought about the separation between God and man. Disobedience is what separated God and man. If you and I are going to become reconciled to God, the trial of our faith is whether or not we will obey. What was the great trial of our blessed Saviour when He was brought to pay the penalty of sin? He was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross," PHI 2:8. Reconciliation to God can only be affected when obedience has been restored. Obedience has to be restored to the point we will obey regardless of the cost. We must have a total, unconditional surrender to the will of God. The trial was, "Will he obey?"

The human mind cannot comprehend the battlefield that arose in Abraham's heart under such a trial as he journeyed three days and three nights to the place that God had chosen for such a sacrifice. Out of impulse, maybe you and I will obey, but Abraham had three days and nights to journey. During that time, think how his heart must have battled. Think how Satan would attack him and say, "Oh, but in Isaac is your salvation. In Isaac is the Messiah. You can’t obey in this instance." See how the Lord allowed Abraham to be tried. It wasn’t only in the act of doing it, but also in the three days and three nights that he was traveling. Do you suppose Abraham slept well during those nights as Satan was attacking him and reminding him that he was putting his own salvation on the altar, trying to tempt Abraham to disobey?

Do you see the beauty of Christ brought as a Lamb to the slaughter where by obedience, He had to step into the wrath of His Father, and He was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"? Christ saw this from eternity and was coming to that hour, counting down until that hour had come. The great trial of our Saviour was whether He would obey.

Turn to ROM 5:8-9 and see the preciousness of the obedience of Christ whereby He was able to purchase our salvation: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." The penalty was paid and removed by His blood. See verses 17 and 18: "For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." It was by the obedience of Christ. If He had not obeyed, He would have spent eternity in hell. This is now the trial that Abraham faced. Would he obey as he came to that hour?

See how awesome the lesson! It is by putting our all on the altar that we become partakers of the divine nature. God brings us through trials to see if we will obey. In so doing, we are being made partakers of His divine nature. In 2PE 1:4, it states, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." It is through obedience that we become "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

It is "after these things," after God has led us in the way of the cross that we begin to understand the love of the Father in giving His Son. The Lord wants you and me to understand the blessedness of the gift of His own Son. It is by these trials and the tearing and rending the flesh of our own heart in obedience that we begin to fathom just slightly what it was that the Father gave when He gave His Son. You and I begin to be conformed to that divine image of God, partakers of that divine image, so that we are able to give everything and put everything on the altar.

We see in GEN 22:6: "And 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." This is very significant. See the divine image being established in our human nature as the knife and the fire symbolized the Father’s justice. Abraham took the fire, the fire of God’s wrath which would come down upon his dear son, and the knife, the sword of His justice which would slay his own son and shed his blood, in his own hand. But, the wood was a symbol of the cross, and that was laid upon Isaac. The symbolism is so precious.

Note JOH 19:16-17: "Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha." As the Lord Jesus Christ had to carry the cross upon which He was to hang, Isaac had to carry the wood upon which he was to lay as a sacrifice to show their willingness. Christ was making Himself a free offering for sin. Isaac had to demonstrate his willingness, and the Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated His sufficiency and His willingness by carrying His own cross to the point of His crucifixion.

This is one of the most profound types in the Old Testament of the Father giving the gift of His Son. As the Lord works His grace in our hearts and makes us partakers of that divine image, He gives us the ability to make the sacrifice of putting our all on the altar. We can give it all into the hands of the Lord and say, "Lord, it’s all Thine. I am Thine." Where else are we shown such a picture of the heart of the Father as His Son ascended Mount Calvary? Picture the heart of God the Father as He beheld His own Son carrying His cross up Mount Calvary. We see the illustration of this with Isaac carrying the wood, as he had to walk up Mount Moriah.

We have to learn to follow Christ in the way of the cross. It is going to be our inheritance, but not in this life. Our inheritance is not in things of the flesh, but it is an eternal inheritance. We see this blessed illustration in GEN 22:6: "And 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." We see the love of the father as his heart went with his son to take the fire of his wrath and to suffer under the sword of his judgement.

We see the Spirit draw our attention to this tender Fatherly love in GEN 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 Lord Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of the Father. The type is so precisely parallel with what we read ROM 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?" See the blessed symbol of the Father sparing not His own Son, how He carried the sword of justice and the fire of His wrath to place it upon His own Son as His Son was climbing the hill, carrying His own cross. "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?," ROM 8:32. If we see how the Father has gone to such an extreme to open the way of salvation, how shall we despair of such a salvation? Will He not "also freely give us all things?"

The love of the Father is the eternal and central theme of this chapter. Abraham's trial is much more prominent than that of Isaac's submission. Isaac was very submissive. He was a grown man at this time, not a little boy. (We see the very next chapter talks about him getting married.) Isaac was fully capable of overcoming his old, feeble father. Isaac’s submission also comes through in such perfect harmony with Abraham's sacrifice.

As we learn to realize what it means that Abraham was, "...the father of all them that believe," then we begin to see the beauty in the relationship between the Father and His dear children. We see that blessed relationship in HEB 12:10: "For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness." The Scriptures teach the symbol of the parental relationship of a man with his own children to illustrate the relationship between God and His dear children, those whom He has purchased with the price of His own Son. He uses that parental relationship to demonstrate why He sends these chastisements. It is that we might be partakers of His holiness. It is for the purifying process. It is for the purging of all sin out of our hearts.

As we become more and more conformed to that divine nature, we begin to realize that we are taught this principle of self-sacrifice for the very purpose Peter spoke of in 2PE 1:4-11: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." God sends these crucifying trials upon us to purge our hearts and to cleanse and prepare us to be partakers of the inheritance of eternal life. It is by these that we are made "partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

It is as we escape the corruption that is in the world through lust that we begin to understand the Father-son relationship God has with His dear children. Read 2CO 6:14-18: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." The process of sanctification is the process whereby He becomes our Father. We are His sons, but it is made manifest through this purging process. The Lord is not going to claim us as His children and leave us in the pit of filth. He uses these things to make us depart from all iniquity.

We are admonished in the very next verse to cleanse ourselves from our wrong attitudes. Our attitude is the biggest thing that keeps us separated from the Lord? See 2CO 7:1: "Having therefore these promises [that He will be a Father unto us and we shall be His sons}, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The word "spirit" means our mental attitude. Our attitude is so important.

A right attitude toward God and our brother is not only essential to enjoy God's nearness in this life, but the right attitude toward our brother is that which we use as an entrance into our inheritance. That is how we are transformed. It is the transformation of our attitude toward our brother.

See what we read in 2PE 1:5-11: "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. [All of these point us to the second table of the law of love as well as to the first. In other words, we need godliness, which is the first table of the law, and brotherly kindness and charity, which is thinking of our brother in the best possible light.] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [If that law of love abounds in you, you shall not be unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.] But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. [That attitude is an absolutely essential element to our salvation. Without it, we will go back into the works of iniquity, i.e. bitterness, hatefulness, and coming against one’s brother.] Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

What do we learn from Genesis 22? We learn to sacrifice self. It must all be placed upon the altar. We must place every other person ahead of us, preferring the other ahead of ourselves. In so doing, "an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

The renewing of our attitude toward God and our fellow man is taught throughout Scriptures as the work of regeneration of the Spirit of God. It is the changing of our person into a new man, a new attitude toward our fellowman. This is expressed in EPH 4:17-24: "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [The word "mind" is making a direct reference to their attitude.] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; [Now see how diametrically opposed our attitude is.] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus [i.e. you are no longer ignorant]: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts [See the wrong attitude toward our brother.]; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind ["Mind" means mental disposition.]; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

We are talking about righteousness, which refers to the second table of the law, and true holiness, which refers to the first table of the law of love. Our attitude is that which measures the work of regeneration in our soul. If we are still walking "in the vanity of (our) mind", we are unregenerate, but if we have been "renewed in the spirit of our mind" and have "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," we walk in the law of love. Amen.


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