Wednesday: The Gospel in the Old Testament
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“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’” (Gal. 3:8, ESV). Paul writes that not only was the gospel preached to Abraham, but it was God who preached it; so, it must have been the true gospel. But when did God preach the gospel to Abraham? Paul’s quotation of Genesis 12:3 indicates he has in mind the covenant that God made with Abraham when he called him in Genesis 12:1–3.

Read Genesis 12:1–3. What does this tell us about the nature of the covenant that God made with Abraham?



The basis of God’s covenant with Abraham centered on God’s promises to him. God says to Abraham four times, “I will.” God’s promises to Abraham are amazing because they are completely one-sided. God does all the promising; Abraham promises nothing. This is the opposite of how most people try to relate to God. We usually promise we will serve Him, if only He will do something for us in return. But that is legalism. God did not ask Abraham to promise anything but to accept His promises by faith. Of course, that was no easy task, because Abraham had to learn to trust completely in God and not in himself (see Genesis 22). The call of Abraham illustrates, therefore, the essence of the gospel, which is salvation by faith.

Some mistakenly conclude that the Bible teaches two ways of salvation. They claim that in Old Testament times salvation was based on keeping the commandments; then, because that did not work very well, God abolished the law and made salvation possible by faith. This could not be farther from the truth. As Paul wrote in Galatians 1:7, there is only one gospel.

What other examples can you find in the Old Testament of salvation by faith alone? See, for instance, Lev. 17:11, Ps. 32:1–5, 2 Sam. 12:1–13, Zech. 3:1–4. 



We often hear the phrase “cheap grace.” Yet, it’s a misnomer. Grace isn’t cheap—it’s free (at least for us). But we ruin it when we think that we can add to it by our works or when we think we can use it as an excuse to sin. In your own experience, which one of these two ways are you more inclined to lean toward, and how can you stop?

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Wednesday: The Gospel in the Old Testament — 8 Comments

  1. "“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed’” (Gal. 3:8, ESV). Paul writes that not only was the gospel preached to Abraham, but it was God who preached it; so, it must have been the true gospel. But when did God preach the gospel to Abraham? Paul’s quotation of Genesis 12:3 indicates he has in mind the covenant that God made with Abraham when he called him in Genesis 12:1–3. The Author

    The "covenant of promise" predates Abraham. The covenant of promise was first made to Adam and Eve...Gen.3:15...the seed of the woman[Jesus] with his heel, would crush the head of the serpent[Satan]...thus ensuring forgiveness and salvation for Adam and Eve and their descendants.

    The promise then had its literal fullfillment through the human lineage of Abraham. It is to this human lineage that Paul refers. Even before the revelation to Adam and Eve; the covenant of promise was already in place...1 Peter 1:17-21..."we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ....the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

    "The basis of God’s covenant with Abraham centered on God.... God did not ask Abraham to promise anything but to accept His promises by faith." The author

    Abraham believed God; and abraham would have been taught from the faithful worshippers of God including Adam and Enoch about the plan to save humanity from sin....Enoch, like, Adam, "believed God". and they, like Abraham, had faith in the promised Deliverer. Abraham therefore had no doubt; but believed, in faith, on the promised Messiah...and Paul referred to Abraham's belief re the Messiah in Hebrews 11:10 ...Abraham "looked for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker was God."

    "Some mistakenly conclude that the Bible teaches two ways of salvation. They claim that in Old Testament times salvation was based on keeping the commandments; then, because that did not work very well, God abolished the law and made salvation possible by faith." The Author

    The gospel of salvation was known to the ancients beginning with Adam, Cain and Able...re sacrifice of animals for sin...Job, David, and all the prophets knew the gospel of salvation....Job said in Job 19:25 "For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand in the latter days upon the earth". ...

    It is false Christianity that misunderstands the gospel of salvation and because of this misunderstanding, refers to the gospel of salvation as applicable re new testament. False Christianity would have us believe that it was an after thought of God in the salvation of humanity.

    It is more than clear from the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation that the plan of the salvation of humanity was in place even before the foundations of the world was laid. 1 Peter 1:17-21

    "We often hear the phrase “cheap grace.” Yet, it’s a misnomer. Grace isn’t cheap—it’s free (at least for us). But we ruin it when we think that we can add to it by our works or when we think we can use it as an excuse to sin. In your own experience, which one of these two ways are you more inclined to lean toward, and how can you stop?" The Author

    That anyone could refer to God's Grace as "cheap" is indicative of the collossal misunderstanding of the price God paid to save humanity from the condemnation of eternal death. God could have started all over and made humans who were perfect, maintaining them in a perfect state, and making them unable to commit sin; and with them pleasing God in everything, albeit, as robots. Even then He chose to expose Himself to the ridicule and disdain of humanity to save humans who have ignored and rejected His gifts and his offer of salvation. He allowed the death of Innocent God in the process....And you say "Grace is cheap"! In any language, to refer to God's grace in any fashion different from the way He sees His Grace, should be avoided. The plan of salvation, now six thousand years old, is a mystery; and throughout eternity, we'll be trying to understand this mystery. Just let us thank God that he has blessed us to be beneficiaries of His boundless grace and mercy; a privilege that we will never deserve..a cost that we can never repay.

    Courtney

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    • Courtney, I believe the term "cheap grace" was first used by Dietrich Bonhoeffer to describe a counterfeit teaching of grace, in contrast to "costly grace." Here's the quote:
      "Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing....[45]

      Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian 'conception' of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins.... In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.[45-46]" For more see The Cost of Discipleship (online) There's so much more, and it's well worth looking up.

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      • Thank you Courtney & thank you Inge! Your explainations about what cheap grace is and what it is not are clear and to the point. What more can we say? Let those who have eyes read and understand those very well said words of wisdom. You said it all!

        I am so thankful that I do not have to contribute anything in order to gain my salvation. What a mess that would be? Honestly, if that was the case, by now I would have been very hopeless and definately out of the game.

        I am also thankful for God's commandments that remind me how much "chief of sinners" I am; in need of Christ - who is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse when I confess. Without His commandments, I would be walking blindly, (assuming that everything is okay) only to discover at the end of journey that I was completely off the track!

        So, thank Heavens for that marvellous Grace and for the commandments that are a lamp unto my feet.

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  2. Daniel, I don’t think anyone is saying that everyone will eventually be saved which is what universalism is. God’s grace is boundless in that Jesus died for everyone (1 John 2:2).

    There is a boundary that is set by the choice that man makes concerning the free offer of eternal life. The vast majority choose not to accept the offer because in accepting it they also must accept God and His government. Since God gives freedom to everyone and only a minority will choose to accept God then only the minority will be saved.

    The point of the lessons on Galatians is that the offer of eternal life is free, a gift from God, to everyone who will accept it.

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  3. Very much agreed Tyler, that the offer of eternal life is free, a gift from God to everyone who will accept it. Praise God!!
    .
    The doctrine that God's grace and mercy is "boundless" tho, is error, which is what i'm trying to point out. That error directly leads to universalism, because if there are no "bounds" to God's grace and mercy, then of course he would be required to save everyone. That is obvious.
    .
    Here is an inspired quote from 5RH 1897-6-22:
    O why did not Judas at that solemn service recognize in its true light the awful work he had pledged himself to perform? Why did he not throw himself penitent at the feet of Jesus? He had not yet passed the boundary of God's mercy and love. But when his decision was made to carry out his purpose, when he left the presence of his Lord and fellow disciples, that barrier was passed.

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    • Hi, Daniel

      There are two problems with your assertions:

      1) You state that boundless grace leads to Universalism. This is simply not correct. The fact that God extends salvation to all does not mean that all accept that gift.

      2) To take and apply what Ellen White said about Judas to everyone is not an argument against boundless grace as God did not fail to extend grace to Judas. Judas simply chose to reject it. However, it is a good argument against Universalism. But "boundless grace" is not the same as Universalism.
      [Edit]

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  4. God did not extend boundless grace to Judas. He PASSED that barrier according to God's inspired words. Of course that means that anyone CAN pass that boundary. Just the word "boundary" by itself shows that there are bounds to God's mercy.
    .
    This teaching of "boundless grade" is very much related to the almost universal popular teaching of "unconditional love", which is basically another term for "cheap grace".

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