The Gift of Faith: In Life. In Death

When we are thinking Advent, we are thinking Christmas.  When we are thinking Christmas, we are thinking of new life wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger. This week is less death and more life.  Chances are this is a little more of what you expected of an Advent study. 

Abraham’s faith assured him he would not lose his son.  Even though it appeared that is what God was calling him to.  It appeared that Abraham was going to sacrifice his son on a mountain top. 

When Abraham is speaking to the servants about the sacrificial plan he says ‘we will return’ not I will return. Abraham’s faith told him that he would not lose his son.  He believed so fiercely in the resurrection he knew his son would come down the mountain with him. 

Ultimately God did not allow Isaac to be sacrificed.  He provided a replacement on the mountain that day and he promised the ultimate replacement would one day be sent.  The substitution would come from the family of Abraham yet it would be God’s son who was sacrificed on the mountain.

Issacs life did not end on the mountain.  He was added to the great cloud of witnesses and from him the great cloud of witnesses grew.  He married Rebekah and they had twins Jacob and Esau.  Jacob married both Rachel and Leah.  His wives also gave their servants to him to have children with.  These children became the 12 tribes of Israel.  Leah gave birth to Judah.  The line of Judah is the line Jesus came from.  Isaac is the grandpa to Judah.  He was the grandpa to the 12 tribes of Israel.  The man who was almost killed on the mountain was given new life.  The new life God gave him was used to establish the genealogy of Jesus. 

New Life sounds like such a beautiful thing and it is.  Yet to have new life at times there must be death.  To have spring everything must die in the winter to come back again.  To have a new dream means old dreams die because we can’t do it all.  For Christ to make us new again we must die to ourselves.

To live in Christ, we must die to ourselves.  Ouch that sounds hard.  Yet our verse reminds us to lay aside every weight, and sin and let us run with endurance, as we look to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith.  We are not alone in this.  The great cloud of witnesses has gone before us. 

More importantly Jesus endured the cross so we can have new life, not just death. 

This week we will look at Abraham, Isaac, and Sarah. We will see God create life in a womb that had never seen new life before. We will see God spare the life of Abraham’s son Isaac. We will see the faith of Abraham at work. We will see what it meant for Abraham to cling to the hope of the resurrection.

The whole week and the whole season of Advent we will look to Jesus the founder and perfecter of their faith and ours.

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