Jon Marq Toombs
Analogy: Redemptive-Historical preaching is like shuffling a deck of cards. You hope for a smooth shuffle and bridge, but sometimes it’s clunky. Today I will attempt to shuffle a NT text with and OT story.
Thesis: Galatians 3:6-14 echoes and fulfills the gospel, sacrifice, and mission of Genesis 15.
NT Text — Galatians 3:6-14
As Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Know then that those of faith, they are sons of Abraham. But the scripture foresaw that God justifies the nations of [from/out of] faith. He pre-announced the gospel to Abraham that all the nations will be blessed in you. Thus, those of faith are blessed with Abraham the faithful, yet as many as are of works of law are under a curse. For it is written, “Cursed everyone who does not continue to do in all things written in the Book of Law.” Yet by law no one is justified before God. Clearly, the righteous will live by [from/out of] faith. But the law is not of faith; rather the one who does these will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of law becoming a curse for [in our place] us, for it is written, “Cursed everyone hanging on a tree, in order that the blessing of Abraham might be for the nations in Christ Jesus; in order that the promise of the Spirit might be received by means of faith.
OT Context — Genesis 15
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”… And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “…Your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.”
- The Father is the one who called Abram out of the old world (Ur of the Chaldeans) into the new world (promise land). He calls all who are of the faith of Abram to the new heavens and earth.
- Jesus Christ is the true and better son and heir of Abram; the true and better smoking fire-pot, the glorious God-man, who walked the blood-path of death, bearing the flaming torch (cross) in order to cut a covenant in his blood with all his people from every nation; the true and better Joshua who conquers the nations by the sword of his Spirit.
- The Spirit is the shield and the great reward promised to all the nations who walk by faith in Christ, from Abram to you and me and beyond to all the nations of the world — everyone who believes.
- The nations who walk by the faith of Abram are the true and better offspring of Abram; they shine like stars in the heavens.
Rich Mullins — “Sometimes I think of Abraham and how one star he saw was lit for me.”
[ sermon preached at Arlington Pres on 9/3 and at Westminster Pres on 9/17 ]