The Gospel in Advance
God’s promise to make Abram (whose name God changed to Abraham) into a great nation is a promise many of us learned about when we were young, perhaps in Sunday school or youth ministry. For others of us, we’ve never really known Abraham’s relation to Christianity. He’s only ever been a figure from the Old Testament who seems irrelevant to our faith. When we look at Jesus and why He came to us, though, we discover that in Jesus, God made good on His promise to Abraham.
Jesus did not appear out of nowhere, as a last-ditch effort by God to save us when nothing else worked. Coming in bodily form in Jesus was always God’s plan to reach us with His love and recover us from the bondage of sin and death.
As Paul said in his letter to a church in Galatia, God announced the gospel of Jesus Christ in advance to Abraham. God’s promise to make Abraham into a great nation and bless all people through him was realized in Jesus. The gospel announced in advance to Abraham, to the first-century Jews and Gentiles, to all people in the last 2,000 years, and to us today is that in Jesus, every person from every nation can be saved, forgiven, healed, and restored. Notice what these passages tell you about the gospel.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
- What did God call Abram to do? What promises did God make to Abram?
- Why do you think Paul calls God’s statement to Abram (“All nations will be blessed through you”) the gospel, announced in advance?
- What impact does the fact that Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to Abram have on your faith in or relationship with Jesus?
- How might your perspective, prayers, and practices around Christmas change as you consider Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram?
Jesus, my Rescuer and Restorer, thank You for the blessing of Your life, death, and resurrection. Your grace and love save and cover me on this day and forever. Help me to live into this blessing and to share it with others as the good news that it is. Break the habits and hang-ups that keep me from experiencing Your freedom. Fill me with Your life and Your love. Amen.
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