[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]
by Dr. John Thomas
I have termed it a twofold justification by way of illustration; but it is, in fact, only one.
The two stand related as cause and effect; faith being the motive principle it is a justification which begins with the remission of sins that are past, and is perfected in obedience unto death.
The idea may be simplified thus.
No exaltation without probation.
If a man believe and obey the gospel his past sins are forgiven him in Christ; but, if after this he walk in the course of the world his faith is proved to be dead, and he forfeits his title to eternal life.
But if, on the other hand, a man become an adopted son of Abraham, and "by a patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and incorruptibility," he will find everlasting life in the Paradise of God.
Abraham's faith having been perfected by the severe trial to which it was subjected on the Mount of the Lord, the remainder of his sojourn among the living appears to have been no further illustrated by angelic visitations.
Sarah had died "at Kirjath-arba, the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan," two years after his removal from Beer-sheba, where he continued to reside for the rest of his days, being a period of thirty-eight years.
During this time, "the Lord blessed him in all things," and he became great in the midst of Canaan, though he possessed of it only the field and cave of Machpelah, which he had purchased for a burial place of the sons of Heth.
The Lord had given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and camels, and asses; and so gave him an influence and consideration among the surrounding tribes which riches are sure to create.
But in all his prosperity, he did not forget the promises.
He had trained up Isaac in his own faith; and in order to preserve him from the evil and corrupting influence of faithless women, and to contribute to the future welfare of his descendants, he took an oath of his steward that he should not take a wife for his son of the daughters of the Canaanites among whom he dwelt; but from among his kindred in Mesopotamia, who appear to have also believed in God.
The steward, however, thought it possible he might not succeed; but Abraham had no such misgiving.
"The Lord God of heaven," said he, "who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and who spake unto me, and sware unto me, saying, Unto thy Seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before," and prosper thy way.
Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, whom he brought into Sarah's tent.
Sarah had now been dead three years.
At the end of thirty-five years from this time, Abraham died, being a hundred and seventy-five, having "dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise," for fifteen years.
"He was gathered to his people.
And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah" in a good old age, as the Lord had told him.
"He died having obtained a good report through faith, not having received the promises; that he without the rest of the seed might not be made perfect".
Such is the scriptural obituary of all who die in hope of the kingdom of God.
After Abraham's decease, Isaac broke up his encampment at Hebron, purposing to go down into Egypt in consequence of a famine in the land of Canaan.