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Stupendous Love


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Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.

—Genesis 22:10–13

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[I]f you admire Abraham offering up his Isaac, how much more ought you to extol, magnify and adore the love of God, who so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son Christ Jesus our Lord, ‘that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life’? May we not well cry out, ‘Now know we, O Lord, that thou hast loved us, since thou hast not withheld thy Son, thine only Son from us!’

Abraham was God’s creature (and God was Abraham’s friend) and therefore under the highest obligation to surrender up his Isaac. But O stupendous love! Whilst we were his enemies, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might become a curse for us. O the freeness, as well as the infinity, of the love of God our Father! It is unsearchable. I am lost in contemplating it. It is past finding out. Think, O believers, think of the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to be a propitiation for our sins. And when you hear how Abraham built an altar and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar upon the wood; think how your heavenly Father bound Jesus Christ his only Son and offered him upon the altar of his justice and laid upon him the iniquities of us all. When you read of Abraham’s stretching forth his hand to slay his son, think, O think, how God actually suffered his Son to be slain, that we might live forevermore.

Do you read of Isaac carrying the wood upon his shoulders, upon which he was to be offered? Let this lead you to Mount Calvary (this very mount of Moriah where Isaac was offered, as some think) and take a view of the antitype Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bearing and ready to sink under the weight of that cross, on which he was to hang for us. Do you admire Isaac so freely consenting to die, though a creature and therefore obliged to go when God called? O do not forget to admire infinitely more the dear Lord Jesus, that promised seed, who willingly said, ‘Lo, I come,’ though under no obligation so to do, ‘to do thy will,’ to obey and die for men, ‘O God!’

Did you weep just now, when I bid you fancy you saw the altar and the wood laid in order and Isaac laid bound on the altar? Look by faith, behold the blessed Jesus, our all-glorious Emmanuel, not bound but nailed on a accursed tree: see how he hangs crowned with thorns and had in derision of all that are round about him: see how the thorns pierce him and how the blood in purple streams trickle down his sacred temples! Hark how the God of nature groans! See how he bows his head and at length humanity gives up the ghost! Isaac is saved but Jesus, the God of Isaac, dies. A ram is offered up in Isaac’s room but Jesus has no substitute; Jesus must bleed, Jesus must die. God the Father provided this Lamb for himself from all eternity. He must be offered in time, or man must be damned for evermore.

And now, where are your tears? Shall I say, refrain your voice from weeping? No, rather let me exhort you to look to him whom you have pierced and mourn, as a woman mourneth for her first-born. For we have been the betrayers, we have been the murderers of this Lord of glory. And shall we not bewail those sins, which brought the blessed Jesus to the accursed tree? Having so much done, so much suffered for us, so much forgiven, shall we not love much! O! Let us love him with all our hearts and minds and strength and glorify him in our souls and bodies, for they are his.

—George Whitefield, “Abraham’s Offering Up His Son Isaac” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:92–93.



Posted 2018·11·05 by David Kjos
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Posted in: George Whitefield · The Sermons of George Whitefield

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