The God Who Judges
A Sermon on Acts 7:1-8
And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot's length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. ‘But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place.’ And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. (ESV)
God’s great plan of salvation is found in Jesus Christ. But as Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains, this plan of salvation was foreseen in the Old Testament and in the sacrificial system. One clear foretelling came when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, upon an altar. While in the end God provides a ram for Abraham to sacrifice instead of his son, this looks forward to when God gives His only Son to die upon the cross for the sins of the world. For God tells us that the blood of bulls and goats will not atone for sins. Lloyd-Jones proclaims, it is only the perfect blood of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, that can take away sins and make sinners righteous. This is the whole message of the Old Testament, the need of salvation for all men, and the need for God to supply the means of this salvation. This is why the Old Testament is so central to Christianity, for it is the Old Testament that tells us of the need of salvation and of the futility of human means. It is the overarching narrative of scripture that tells us of the fallenness of man and the great Gospel of Christ that is the only salvation of the world.