Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gospel Beforehand - Galatians 3:8

"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God
would justify the Gentiles by faith,
preached the gospel beforehand
to Abraham, saying,
'All the nations shall be blessed in you.'"
(Galatians 3:8)

Justification is no new thing. It is not a New Testament invention. It is not the new and improved way of salvation. The way to heaven didn't used to be through works and suddenly somewhere around 33 AD it morphed into grace. No, since the dawn of time the people of God have been saved by grace, through faith, in Christ. No man has ever been justified by the works of the Law. Every saved sinner has always been justified by faith in Christ Jesus.

"How can it be?" You may protest.

"Come on, Jesus didn't even pop on the scene until the dawn of a new time marker. What about all of those sacrifices that were required? What about all of that blood that was spilt? What about...?"

Yes, what about all of that?! Those are good and important questions.

Let me remind you of a few things before going a single step further.

1. In this very book of Galatians, the Bible clearly states that "by the works of the Law shall NO flesh be justified."

2. Further in this same epistle, the Bible also states that "if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."

3. Elsewhere (Hebrews 10) the Bible informs us that "it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."

Yes, what about all of that blood? Yes, what about all of those laborious tasks and ceremonies?

What about them? They were types of shadows and pictures of HE who was to come. The lambs were vivid illustrations of THE Lamb - the Lamb of God who would come to take away the sins of the world. All of that shed blood was a tangible portrait of THE Blood which would be shed for the remission of sins. All of that work was a reminder of HIS work which would be done on our behalf. Everything in the old was a foreshadowing of that which would be fulfilled in the new. All of it, every bit of it pointed to the Messiah who was to come and save His people from their sins. The gospel of grace has always been and always will be.

How can I say that? Because the Word of God says it. This is no stretch. In the very text before us we are plainly told that the Scripture "preached the GOSPEL beforehand to Abraham...."

Friends, the gospel is nothing new. Yes, our understanding of it may be fuller than was theirs. We have the whole counsel of God in our possession. We can pick it up. We can pour over its pages. We can look long into its testimonies. We have a full account of who Christ was and of what He did. Yes, we are blessed beyond measure to live at such a time as this.

But they were not without a gospel witness. The promise of the coming Messiah arrived on the scene as soon as the misery of the fall fell.

At the heels of Adam's rebellion we find God's redeeming restoration and attached to it we find the promise of Christ. To the serpent, that enemy of God's elect, it is said in Genesis 3:

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."

Genesis 3:15 is the first proclamation of the coming of the suffering Servant and of the conquering King. Far in the future, Satan would seek to slay our Savior by striking a painful blow on Calvary's cross - a heel bruiser. BUT... the very wounds which the Messiah would bear are the very wounds which granted us the gracious victory and would ultimately crush that sneaky and slithering snakes plan - a mortal head wound!

On and on and on it goes throughout the Old Testament. Take a quick glance at Psalm 22 and at Isaiah 53 simply for starters. The works of the coming Messiah on our behalf - His role as our Prophet, Priest, and King - all of these things are well described long before His physical entrance into time and space.

"Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

Abraham believed the gospel? Do we?

The gospel of grace was proclaimed to Abraham centuries before the tangible, historical out workings of it on Calvary's cross. Even before it physically occurred it was efficacious to save Father Abraham by grace, through faith. If it was enough to save him then it is enough to save us.

The gospel was preached "beforehand" and it continues to be preached afterwards. Are you resting in the good news of what Christ has done on your behalf? He has "given Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age.

"Abraham believed" - do we?

In the grace of the gospel,

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